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S. 6. & E. L. ELBERT 




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183 8. 


In presenting to the American public a literal reprint of 
the third London Edition of Carver's Travels into the 
Chippewa, Winnebago, Sioux, and other Indian Countries, 
now embraced in the Wisconsin Territory, the publishers 
feel assured that they render an acceptable service to all 
classes of Readers. 

The motives which prompted the Journey are set forth 
by the Author in the Introduction. The character of 
Jonathan Carver, enterprising, sanguine, observant, yet 
prudent and unpretending, is impressed upon the pages of 
his narrative ; whilst the minor objects of selfish interest, 
scarcely allowed to obtrude themselves on the notice of the 
Reader, are freed of all offence, and elevated by their 
association with that lofty public spirit, the constant aim of 
which was to achieve an important benefit for his country. 

That such a man should live unrequited, and die in broken- 
hearted penury, may cause more regret than surprise to 
those who recollect to what fluctuating influences the 
destinies of England were committed during the war of 
the Revolution. 

But amid his disappointments and his privations, 
Jonathan Carver still was cheered by the esteem and 
friendship of men, alike distinguished for public and for 
private worth ; for penetration and for learning. Sir 
Joseph Banks, a name dear to Science, Literature, and 
Philanthropy, was his patron and friend ; and John 
Coakley Lettsom, who long stood in the foremost ranks 
of the Medical Profession of London, and is well remem- 

[ iv ] 

bered by many of the elder physicians of our own country s 
not only gave to him the solace of his skill, and the aids of an 
active and warm-hearted benevolence, but rendered a well- 
merited tribute to his memory, by publishing that edition 
of his works which is now reprinted, and appending to it 
a biographical notice of the Author, disclosing many in- 
teresting and authentic particulars, which, with the modesty 
and disinterestedness characteristic of merit, Carver him- 
self had withheld from the public eye. 

The statesman-like forecast of our Traveller has been 
fully verified. Some of the Regions of which he discourses 
already are included in the most flourishing of our Western 
States, while that of which he more particularly treats, and 
in which he had a great personal interest, now called the 
" Wisconsin Territory," holds out, to the wanderer still 
seeking a home in the Far West, temptations more alluring 
than those which already have arrested the steps of so 
many thousands of wayfarers. 

Those are still living who recollect the impression pro- 
duced by the first publication of this interesting work ; the 
countries of which it treats, the novelty of its incidents, the 
peculiarities of Indian character described, gave to it the 
charm of Romance, and it was in the hands of all ages ; 
but its subjects were so novel, so unknown, so in- 
capable of realization by comparison with those which 
were familiar, that full credence in the accuracy of its re- 
citals, as in those of old Marco Polo, and of some other 
visiters of strange lands of much more modern date, re- 
mained to be established by the future. 

That future has arrived ; the narration of each succeed- 
ing Traveller has borne testimony, always involuntary, and 
sometimes reluctant testimony, to the accuracy of the gen- 
eral knowledge of the glorious West which Carver obtained 
from its savage denizens during his residence among them, 
while none have presented more graphic descriptions of 

t v ] 

those scenes on which his own vision rested than himself; 
and, still more recently, the pictorial illustrations of Catlin, 
and the actual presence among us of delegations of the 
swarthy warriors of 'those tribes in which he had been for 
a while domesticated, have stamped upon his accounts of 
their manners and customs undeniable evidence of their 
truth, and imparted to them a freshness of interest that will 
amply compensate to the general reader the time he may 
beguile in their perusal ; while those who hold proprietary 
rights in the Carver grant, or, having the world before them 
where to choose, look anxiously towards the West, may 
gleam from these pages much that may gladden the pres- 
ent, and array the future in the bright hues of well-founded 







years 1766, 1767, and 1768. 

By J. CARVER, Esq. 







Printed for C. Dilly, in the Poultry ; H. Payne, in Pall-mall ; and J. Phil- 
lips, in George-yard, Lombard-Street. 



Few works have had a more rapid sale than the follow- 
ing ; two large editions having been disposed of in two 
years. This induced the proprietors to print a third : but, 
as soon as this impression w 7 as finished, I purchased both 
the printed copies and the copy-right. 

I have since added to the work, some Account of the 
Author's life, and an Index to the Travels, which are pub- 
lished separately, for the convenience of the purchasers of 
the first and second editions ; on whom, I was unwilling to 
raise an extraordinary tax for the third edition. 

John Coakley Lettsom. 
London, March 30, 1781. 




When the Public are informed that I have long had the 
Honour of your Acquaintance — that my Design in publish- 
ing the following Work has received your Sanction — that 
the Composition of it has stood the Test of your Judgment 
— and that it is by your Permission a Name so deservedly 
eminent in the Literary World is prefixed to it, I need not 
be apprehensive of its Success ; as your Patronage will 
unquestionably give them Assurance of its Merit. 

For this public Testimony of your Favour, in which I 
pride myself, accept, Sir, my most grateful Acknowledg- 
ments ; and believe me to be, with great Respect, 

Your obedient humble Servant, 





The favourable reception this Work has met with, claims 
the Author's most grateful acknowledgments. A large edi- 
tion having run off in a few months, and the sale appearing 
to be still unabated, a new impression is become necessary. 
On this occasion was he to conceal his feelings, and pass 
over, in silence, a distinction so beneficial and flattering, he 
would justly incur the imputation of ingratitude. That he 
might not do this, he takes the opportunity, which now pre- 
sents itself, of conveying to the Public (though in terms 
inadequate to the warm emotions of his heart) the sense he 
entertains of their favour; and thus transmits to them his 

In this new edition, care has been taken to rectify those 
errors which have unavoidably proceeded from the hurry of 
the press, and likewise any incorrectness in the language that 
has found its way into it. 

The credibility of some of the incidents related in the fol- 
lowing pages, and some of the stories introduced therein, 
having been questioned, particularly the prognostication of 
the Indian priest on the banks of Lake Superior, and the 
story of the Indian and his rattle snake, the author thinks it 
necessary to avail himself of the same opportunity, to en- 

t xiv ] 

deavour to eradicate any impressions that might have been 
made on the minds of his readers, by the apparent improba- 
bility of these relations. 

As to the former, he has related it just as it happened. 
Being an eye-witness to the whole transaction (and, he flat- 
ters himself, at the time, free from every trace of sceptical 
obstinacy or enthusiastic credulity) he was consequently 
able to describe every circumstance minutely and impartially. 
This he has done ; but without endeavouring to account for 
the means by which it was accomplished. Whether the 
prediction was the result of prior observations, from which 
certain consequences were expected to follow by the saga- 
cious priest, and the completion of it merely accidental ; or 
whether he was really endowed with supernatural powers, 
the narrator left to the judgment of his readers ; whose con- 
clusions, he supposes, varied according as the mental facul- 
ties of each were disposed to admit or reject facts that can- 
not be accounted for by natural causes. 

The story of the rattle snake was related to him by a 
French gentleman of undoubted veracity ; and were the read- 
ers of this work as thoroughly acquainted with the sagacity 
and instinctive proceedings of that animal, as he is, they would 
be as well assured of the truth of it. It is well known, that 
those snakes which have survived through the summer the 
accidents reptiles are liable to, periodically retire to the woods, 
at the approach of winter ; where each (as curious observers 
have remarked) takes possession of the cavity it had occupied 
the preceding year. As soon as the season is propitious, 
enlivened by the invigorating rays of the sun, they leave these 
retreats, and make their way to the same spot, though ever 
so distant, on which they before had found subsistence, and 
the means of propagating their species. Does it then re- 
quire any extraordinary exertions of the mind to believe, that 
one of these regular creatures, after having been kindly treat- 
ed by its master, should return to the box, in which it had 

[ xv 1 

usually been supplied with food, and had met with a com- 
fortable abode, and that nearly about the time the Indian, from 
former experiments, was able to guess at ? It certainly does 
not; nor will the liberal and ingenuous doubt the truth of a 
story so well authenticated, because the circumstances ap- 
pear extraordinary in a country where the subject of it is 
scarcely known. 

These explanations the author hopes will suffice to con- 
vince his readers, that he has not, as travellers are sometimes 
supposed to do, amused them with improbable tales, or wish- 
ed to acquire importance by making his adventures savour 
of the marvellous. 


Introduction, ....... xxv 

The Author sets out from Boston on his Travels, . 33 
Description of Fort Michillimackinac, . . .34 

Fort La Bay, . . . . .35 

■ the Green Bay, . . . . .38 

Lake Michigan, . . . . .39 

Arrives at the Town of the Winnebagoes, . .41 

Excursion of the Winnebagoes towards the Spanish 

Settlements, ...... 42 

Description of the Winnebago Lake, . . .44 

Instance of Resolution of an Indian Woman, . . 45 
Description of the Fox River, . . . . .46 

Remarkable Story of a Rattle Snake, . . .47 

The great Town of the Saukies, . . . .49 

Upper Town of the Ottagaumies, . . . .50 

Description of the Ouisconsin River, .... ib. 

Lower Town of the Ottagaumies, or La Prairie Le 

Chien, .... ... 51 

An Attack by some Indian Plunderers, . . .52 
Description of the Mississippi from the Mouth of the 

Ouisconsin to Lake Pepin, . . . .53 

» Lake Pepin, . . . . . ib. 

Remarkable Ruins of an ancient Fortification, . . 54 
The River Bands of the Naudowessie Indians, . . 56 
Adventure with a Party of these, and some of the Chip- 

eways, ....... 57 

Description of a remarkable Cave, . . . .58 

Uncommon Behaviour of the Prince of the Winneba- 
goes at the Falls of St. Anthony, . . .60 
Description of the Falls, ...... 61 

Extent of the Author's Travels, . . . .64 

Description of the River St, Pierre, . . . .65 

Sources of the Four great Rivers of North America, • 66 
Reflections on their Affinity, . . . . . ib. 

The Naudowessies of the Plains, with whom the Author 

wintered in the Year 1766, . . . • 67 
The Author returns to the Mouth of the River St. 

Pierre, 70 



Account of a violent Thunder-storm, . . ,10 

Speech made by the Author in a Council held by the 

Naudowessies at the great Cave, . . .71 

Adventure wilh a party of Indians near Lske Pepin, . 76 
Description of the Country adjacent to the River St. 

Pierre, ....... 78 

Account of different Clays found near the Marble River, 79 
Description of the Chipeway River, . . .. .80 

Extraordinary Effects of a Hurricane, . . . ib. 

The Author arrives at the Grand Portage on the North- 
west Borders of Lake Superior, . . .82 
Account of the Lakes lying farther to the North-west: 

Lake Bourbon, LakeWinnepeek, Lake Du Bois, 

Lake La Pluye, Red Lake, &c. . . .83 
Account of a Nation of Indians supposed to have been 

tributary to the Mexican Kings, . . .89 

the Shining Mountains, . . . .90 

A singular Prediction of the Chief Priest of the Killis- 

tinoes verified, . . . . . .91 

Description of Lake Superior, . . . . .96 

Story of the two Chipeways landing on the Island of 

Mauropas, ....... 98 

Account of great Quantities of Copper Ore, , .100 

Description of the Falls of St. Marie, . . .102 

Lake Huron, . . . . .103 

Saganaum and Thunder Bays, . . ib. 

Extraordinary Phenomenon in the Straights of Michil- 

limackinac, . . . . . . .104 

Description of Lake St. Claire, .... 107 

the River, Town, and Fort of Detroit, . ib. 

Remarkable Rain at Detroit, . . . . .108 

Attack of Fort Detroit by Pontiac^ . . . .109 
Description of Lake Erie, . . . . .116 

the River and Falls of Niagara, . .117 

Lake Ontario, . . . . .118 

the Oniada Lake, Lake Champlain, and 

Lake George, . . . . . .119 

Account of a Tract of Land granted to Sir Ferdinando 

Gorges, and Captain John Mason, . . .120 

The Author's Motives for undertaking his Travels, . 122 


The Origin of the Indians, . . . . .125 

Sentiments of various Writers on this Point, . . 126 


Sentiments of Monsieur Charlevoix, .... 131 

James Adair, Esq; .... 187 

the Author of this Work, . . . 140 

Corroboration of the latter by Doctor Robertson, . 144 


Of the Persons, Dress, &c. of the Indians, . . 146 

An Account of those who have written on this Subject, ib. 

Description of the Persons of the Indians, . . 148 

their Dress, ..... 150 

the Dress of the Ottagaumies, with a 

Plate, 152 

the Dress of the Naudowessies, with 

Ditto, ........ ib. 

The manner in which they build their Tents and Huts, 153 
Their domestic Utensils, . . . . . 154 


Of the Manners, Qualifications, &c. of the Indians, . 155 

Peculiar Customs of the Women, .... ib. 

The circumspect and stoical Disposition of the Men, . 156 

Their amazing Sagacity, ...... 158 

Remarkable Story of one of the Naudowessie Women, 160 
The Liberality of the Indians, and their Opinion re- 
specting Money, . . . . . 161, 162 


Their Method of reckoning Time, &c . . . 163 
The Names by which they distinguish the Months, . ib. 
Their Idea of the Use of Figures, .... 165 


Of their Government, &c ..... 166 

Their Division into Tribes, . . . . . ib. 

The Chiefs of their Bands, 167 

The Members that compose their Councils, . .169 


Of their Feasts, 170 

Their usual Food, .... . . 171 

Their Manner of dressing and eating their Victuals, . ib. 




Of their Dances, . . . . • . 172 

The Manner in which they Dance, . . . .173 
The Pipe or Calumate Dance, .... ib. 

The War Dance, 174 

The Pavvwaw Dance, ...... 175 

An uncommon Admission into a Society, among the 

Naudowessies, ...... ib. 

The Dance of the Indians on the Banks of the Missis- 
sippi, referred to in the Journal, . . .179 
The Dance of the Sacrifice, ..... 181 


Of their Hunting, ..... 
Their Preparation before they set out, 
Their Manner of hunting the Bear, 

Buffalo, Deer, &c. 


. 182 
. 183 

. 184 
. ib. 
. 185 


Of their Manner of making War, &c. . . .187 

The Indian Weapons, with a Plate, .... 188 

Their Motives of making War, . . . .189 

Preparations before they take the Field, . . .191 
The Manner in which they solicit other Nations to be- 
come their Auxiliaries, . . . . .194 

Their Manner of declaring War, .... 195 

Their Method of engaging their Enemies, . . . 197 

An Instance of the Efficacy of it in the Defeat of Gen- 
eral Braddock, ...... ib. 

A detail of the Massacre at Fort William Henry in the 

Year 1757, . . . . . . .198 

Acuteness and Alacrity of the Indians in pursuing their 

Enemies, ....... 206 

Their Manner of Scalping, ..... 207 

The Manner in which they retreat and carry off their 

Prisoners, ....... 208 

A remarkable Instance of Heroism in a female Prisoner, 209 
Treatment of their Prisoners, . . . . .211 

The Origin of their selling Slaves, .... 217 



Of their Manner of making Peace, &c. . . . 220 
Account of an Engagement between the Iroquois and 

the Oilagaumies and Saukies, . . . ib. 
Manner in which they conduct a Treaty of Peace, . 224 
Description of the Pipe of Peace, .... ib. 
Bells of Wampum, . . . 226 


Of their Games, 227 

The Game of the Ball, ...... ib. 

Bowl or Platter, . . . .228 


Of their Marriage Ceremonies, .... 229 

The Manner in which the Tribes near Canada celebrate 

their Marriages, ...... 230 

The form of Marriage among the Naudowessies, . 232 
Their Manner of carrying on an Intrigue, . . . 233 
Of the Indian Names, 235 


Of their Religion, 236 

Their Ideas of a Supreme Being, .... 237 

future State, 238 

Of their Priests, ....... ib. 

The Sentiments of Others on the religious Principles of 

the Indians opposed, ..... 240 


Of their Diseases, Sec. . . . . . .241 

The Complaints to which they are chiefly subject, . 242 
The Manner in which they construct their Sweating 

Stoves, ....... ib. 

The Meihods in which they treat their Diseases, . ib. 

An extraordinary Instance of the Judgment of an Indian 

Woman in a desperate Case, . . . 245 


The Manner in which they treat their Dead, . . 246 
A Specimen of their Funeral Harangues, . . . 247 



Their Method of burying the Dead, .... 248 
A singular Instance of parental Affection in a Naudo- 

wessie Woman, . . . . . . 249 


A concise Character of ihe Indians, .... 251 
Their personal and mental Qualifications, . . . 252 

Their public Character as Members of a Community, 253, 254 


Of their Language, Hieroglyphicks, &c. 

Of the Chipeway Tongue, 

Descriptive Specimen of their Hieroglyphicks, 

Vocabulary of the Chipeway Language, 

— — Naudovvessie Language, 

. 255 
. ib. 
. 257 
. 258 
. 268 


Of the Beasts, Birds, Fishes, Reptiles, and Insects, 
which are found in the Interior Parts of North 
America, ....... 273 


The Tvger, 273 

The Bear. The Wolf, 274 

The Fox. Dogs. The Cat of the Mountain. The 

Buffalo, . . . . . . .275 

The Deer. The Elk, 276 

The Moose. The Carrabou, 277 

The Carcajou. The Skunk, 278 

The Porcupine, 279 

The Wood Chuck. The Racoon. The Martin, . 280 
The Musquash. Squirrels, ..... 281 

The Beaver, 282 

The Otier, . .285 

The Mink, 286 


The Eagle. The Night Hawk. The Whipperwill, . 287 
The Fish Hawk. The Owl. The Crane. Ducks, . 288 
The Teal. The Loon. The Partridge, . . .289 

The Wood Pigeon. The Woodpecker. The Blue Jay. 

The Wakon Bird, ...... 290 


The Black Bird. The Red Bird, . . . .291 
The Whetsaw. The King Bird. The Humming Bird, 292 


The Sturgeon. The Cat Fish. The Carp. The Chub, 293 


The Rattle Snake, . 294 

The Long Black Snake, 297 

The Siriped or Garter Snake. The Water Snake. 
The Hissing Snake. The Green Snake. The 
Thorn-tail Snake. The Speckled Snake. The 

Ring Snake, .298 

The Two-headed Snake. The Tortoise or Land Turtle, 299 


The Swift Lizard, 299 

The Slow Lizard. The Tree Toad, . . , .300 


The Silk Worm. The Tobacco Worm, . . .300 
The Bee. The Lightning Bug or Fire Flv, . . 301 

The Water Bug. The Horned Bug. The Locust, . 302 


Of the Trees, Shrubs, Roots, Herbs, Flowers, . . ib, 


The Oak. The Pine Tree, 303 

The Maple. The Ash, 304 

The Hemlock Tree. The Bass or White Wood. The 

Wickopick or Suckwick. The Button Wood, 305 


The Butter or Oil Nut. The Beech Nut, . .306 

The Pecan Nut. The Hickory, . . . .307 


The Vine, ........ ib. 

The Mulberry Tree. The Crab Apple Tree. The 

Plum Tree. The Cherry Tree, . . . 308 
The Sweet Gum Tree, ...... 309 



The Willow. Shin Wood, 309 

The Sassafras. The Prickly Ash. The Moose Wood. 

The Spoon Wood, 310 

The Elder. The Shrub Oak. The Witch Hazle. 

The Myrtle Wax Tree, 311 

Winter Green. The Fever Bush. The Cranberry 

Bush 312 

The Choak Berry, 313 


Spikenard. Sarsaparilla, ...... ib. 

Ginsang. Gold Thread. Solomon's Seal, . .314 

Devil's "Bit. Blood Root, ...... 315 


Sanicle, ......... ib. 

Rattle Snake Plantain. Poor Robin's Plantain. Toad 

Plantain. Rock Liverwort, .... 316 

Gargit or Skoke. Skunk Cabbage or Poke. Wake 

Robin, 317 

Wild Indico. Cat Mint, ...... 318 

FLOWERS, . . . ib. 


Maize or Indian Corn. Wild Rice, .... 319 
Beans. The Squash, ...... 321 


The Probability of the interior Parts of North America 

becoming Commercial Colonies, . . . 323 

The Means by which this might be effected, . . 324 

Tracts of Land pointed out, on which Colonies may be 

established with the greatest advantage, . . 325 

Dissertation on the Discovery of a North-west Passage 329 
The most certain W a y of attaining it, . . . 330 

Plan proposed by Richard Whitworth, Esq. for making 

an Attempt from a Quarter hitherto unexplored, 331 
The Reason of its being postponed, .... 332 


No sooner was the late War with France concluded, and 
Peace established by the Treaty of Versailles in the Year 
1763, than I began to consider (having rendered my country 
some services during the war) how I might continue still 
serviceable, and contribute, as much as lay in my power, to 
make that vast acquisition of territory, gained by Great 
Britain, in North America advantageous to it. It appeared 
to me indispensably needful, that Government should be 
acquainted in the first place with the true state of the do- 
minions they were now become possessed of. To this 
purpose, I determined, as the next proof of my zeal, to ex- 
plore the most unknown parts of them, and to spare no 
trouble or expence in acquiring a knowledge that promised 
to be so useful to my countrymen. I knew that many ob- 
structions would arise to my scheme from the want of good 
Maps and Charts; for the French, whilst they retained 
their power in North America, had taken every artful 
method to keep all other nations, particularly the English, 
in ignorance of the concerns of the interior parts of it : and 
to accomplish this design with the greater certainty, they 
had published inaccurate maps and false accounts ; calling 
the different nations of the Indians by nicknames they had 
given them, and not by those really appertaining to them. 
Whether the intention of the French in doing this, was to 
prevent these nations from being discovered and traded 
with, or to conceal their discourse, when they talked to 
each other of the Indian concerns, in their presence, I will 


[ xxvi ] 

not determine ; but whatsoever was the cause from which 
it arose, it tended to mislead. 

As a proof that the English had been greatly deceived 
by these accounts, and that their knowledge relative to 
Canada had usually been very confined, before the conquest 
of Crown-Point in 1759, it had been esteemed an impreg- 
nable fortress : but no sooner was it taken, than we were 
convinced that it had acquired its greatest security from 
false reports, given out by its possessors, and might have 
been battered down with a few four pounders. Even its 
situation, which was represented to be so very advantage- 
ous, was found to owe its advantages to the same source. 
It cannot be denied but that some maps of these countries 
have been published by the French with an appearance of 
accuracy ; but these are of so small a size and drawn on so 
minute a scale, that they are nearly inexplicable. The 
sources of the Mississippi, I can assert from my own ex- 
perience, are greatly misplaced ; for when I had explored 
them, and compared their situation with the French Charts, 
I found them very erroneously represented, and am satisfied 
that these were only copied from the rude sketches of the 

Even so lately as their evacuation of Canada they con- 
tinued their schemes to deceive ; leaving no traces by 
which any knowledge might accrue to their conquerors : 
for though they were well acquainted with all the Lakes, 
particularly with Lake Superior, having constantly a vessel 
of considerable burthen thereon, yet their plans of them are 
very incorrect. I discovered many errors in the descrip- 
tions given therein of its Islands and Bays, during a prog- 
ress of eleven hundred miles that I coasted it in canoes. 
They likewise, on giving up the possession of them, took 
care to leave the places they had occupied in the same un- 
cultivated state they had found them ; at the same time 
destroying all their naval force. I observed myself part of 

[ xxvii ] 

the hulk of a very large vessel, burnt to the water's edge, 
just at the opening from the Straits of St. Marie's into the 

These difficulties, however, were not sufficient to deter 
me from the undertaking, and I made preparations for set- 
ting out. What I chiefly had in view, after gaining a know- 
ledge of the Manners, Customs, Languages, Soil, and 
natural Productions of the different nations that inhabit the 
back of the Mississippi, was to ascertain the Breadth of 
that vast continent, which extends from the Atlantic to the 
Pacific Ocean, in its broadest part between 43 and 46 De- 
grees Northern Latitude. Had I been able to accomplish 
this, I intended to have proposed to Government to establish 
a Post in some of those parts about the Straits of Annian, 
which having been first discovered by Sir Francis Drake, 
of course belong to the English. This I am convinced 
would greatly facilitate the discovery of a Northwest Pas- 
sage, or a communication between Hudson's Bay and the 
Pacific Ocean. An event so desirable, and which has been 
so often sought for, but without success. Besides this im- 
portant end, a settlement on that extremity of America 
would answer many good purposes, and repay every ex- 
pence the establishment of it might occasion. For it would 
not only disclose new sources of trade, and promote many 
useful discoveries, but would open a passage for conveying 
intelligence to China, and the English settlements in the 
East Indies, with greater expedition than a tedious voyage 
by the Cape of Good Hope, or the Straits of Magellan will 
allow of. 

How far the advantages arising from such an enterprize 
may extend can only be ascertained by the favourable con- 
currence of future events. But that the completion of the 
scheme, I have had the honour of first pfenning and attempt- 
ing, will some time or other be effected, I make no doubt. 
From the unhappy divisions that at present subsist between 

xxviii ] 

Great Britain and America, it will probably be some years 
before the attempt is repeated ; but whenever it is, and the 
execution of it carried on with propriety, those who are so 
fortunate as to succeed, will reap, exclusive of the national 
advantages that must ensue, Emoluments beyond their most 
sanguine expectations. And whilst their spirits are elated 
by their success, perhaps they may bestow some commen- 
dations and blessings on the person that first pointed out to 
them the way. These, though but a shadowy recompence 
for all my toil, I shall receive with pleasure. 

To what power or authority this new world will become 
dependent, after it has arisen from its present uncultivated 
state, time alone can discover. But as the seat of Empire 
from time immemorial has been gradually progressive to- 
wards the West, there is no doubt but that at some future 
period, mighty kingdoms will emerge from these wilder- 
nesses, and stately palaces and solemn temples, with gilded 
spires reaching the skies, supplant the Indian huts, whose 
only decorations are the barbarous trophies of their van- 
quished enemies. 

As some of the preceding passages have already informed 
the Reader that the plan I had laid down for penetrating to 
the Pacific Ocean, proved abortive, it is necessary to add, 
that this proceeded not from its impracticability (for the 
farther I went the more convinced I was that it could cer- 
tainly be accomplished) but from unforeseen disappoint- 
ments. However, I proceeded so far, that I was able to 
make such discoveries as will be useful in any future 
attempt, and prove a good foundation for some more for- 
tunate Successor to build upon. These I shall now lay 
before the Public in the following pages ; and am satisfied 
that the greatest part of them have never been published by 
any person that has hitherto treated of the interior Nations 
of the Indians ; particularly, the account I give of the Nau- 
dowessies, and the situation of the Heads of the four great 

[ xxix ] 

rivers that take their rise within a few leagues of each 
other, nearly about the center of this great continent ; 
viz. The River Bourbon, which empties itself into Hudson's 
Bay ; the Waters of Saint Lawrence ; the Mississippi, and 
the River Oregon, or the River of the West, that falls into 
the Pacific Ocean at the Straits of Annian. 

The impediments that occasioned my returning, before I 
had accomplished my purposes, were these. On my arrival 
at Michillimackinac, the remotest English post, in Sep- 
tember 1766, I applied to Mr. Rogers, who was then 
governor of it, to furnish me with a proper assortment of 
goods, as presents for the Indians who inhabit the track I 
intended to pursue. He did this only in part ; but promised 
to supply me with such as were necessary, when I reached 
the Falls of Saint Anthonv. I afterwards learned that the 
governor fulfilled his promise in ordering the goods to be 
delivered to me ; but those to whose care he intrusted them, 
instead of conforming to his orders, disposed of them else- 

Disappointed in my expectations from this quarter, I 
thought it necessary to return to La Prairie Le Chien ; for 
it was impossible to proceed any farther without presents to 
ensure me a favorable reception. This I did in the begin- 
ning of the year 1767, and finding my progress to the West- 
ward thus retarded, I determined to direct my course 
Northward. I took this step with a view of finding a com- 
munication from the Heads of the Mississippi into Lake 
Superior, in order to meet, at the grand Portage on the 
North-west side of that lake, the traders that usually come, 
about this season, from Michillimackinac. Of these I in- 
tended to purchase goods, and then to pursue my journey 
from that quarter by way of the lakes de Pluye, Dubois, 
and Ounipique to the Heads of the river of the West, 
which, as I have said before, falls into the Straits of Annian, 
the termination of my intended progress. 

[ XXX ] 

I accomplished the former part of my design, and reached 
Lake Superior in proper time; but unluckily the traders I 
met there acquainted me, that they had no goods to spare ; 
those they had with them being barely sufficient to answer 
their own demands in these remote parts. Thus disap- 
pointed a second time, I found myself obliged to return to 
the place from whence I began my expedition, which I did 
after continuing some months on the North and East 
borders of Lake Superior, and exploring the Bays and 
Rivers that empty themselves into this large body of 

As it may be expected that I should lay before the Public 
the reasons that these discoveries, of so much importance 
to every one who has any connections with America, have 
not been imparted to them before, notwithstanding they 
were made upwards of ten years ago, I will give them to 
the world in a plain and candid manner, and without 
mingling with them any complaints on account of the ill 
treatment I have received. 

On my arrival in England, I presented a petition to his 
Majesty in council, praying for a reimbursement of those 
sums I had expended in the service of government. This 
was referred to the Lords Commissioners of Trade and 
Plantations. Their Lordships from the tenor of it thought 
the intelligence I could give of so much importance to the 
nation that they ordered me to appear before the Board. 
This message I obeyed, and underwent a long examina- 
tion ; much I believe to the satisfaction of every Lord pres- 
ent. When it was finished, I requested to know what I 
should do with my papers ; without hesitation the first 
Lord replied, That I might publish them whenever I 
pleased. In consequence of this permission, I disposed of 
them to a bookseller : but when they were nearly ready for 
the press, an order was issued from the council board, re- 
quiring me to deliver, without delay, into the Plantation 


Office, all my Charts and Journals, with every paper rela- 
tive to the discoveries I had made. In order to obey this 
command, I was obliged to re- purchase them from the 
bookseller, at a very great expence, and deliver them up. 
This fresh disbursement I endeavoured to get annexed to 
the account I had already delivered in ; but the request was 
denied me, notwithstanding I had only acted, in the dis- 
posal of my papers, conformably to the permission I had 
received from the Board of Trade. This loss, which 
amounted to a very considerable sum, I was obliged to 
bear, and to rest satisfied with an indemnification for my 
other expenses. 

Thus situated, my only expectations are from the favour 
of a generous Public ; to whom I shall now communicate 
my Plans, Journals, and Observations, of which 1 luckily 
kept copies, when I delivered the originals into the Plan- 
tation Office. And this I do the more readily, as I hear 
they are mislaid ; and there is no probability of their ever 
being published. To those who are interested in the con- 
cerns of the interior parts of North America, from the con- 
tiguity of their possessions, or commercial engagements, 
they will be extremely useful, and fully repay the sum at 
which they are purchased. To those, who, from a laudable 
curiosity, wish to be acquainted with the manners and 
customs of every inhabitant of this globe, the accounts 
here given of the various nations that inhabit so vast a tract 
of it, a country hitherto almost unexplored, will furnish an 
ample fund of amusement and gratify their most curious 
expectations. And I flatter myself they will be as favour- 
ably received by the Public, as descriptions of islands, 
which afford no other entertainment than what arises from 
their novelty ; and discoveries, that seem to promise very 
few advantages to this country, though acquired at an im- 
mense expence. 

To make the following Work as comprehensible and 

xxxii ] 

entertaining as possible, I shall first give my Readers an 
account of the route I pursued over this immense continent 
(through which they will be able to attend me by referring 
to the plan prefixed) and as I pass on, describe the number 
of Inhabitants, the situation of the Rivers and Lakes, and 
the productions of the country. Having done this, I shall 
treat, in distinct Chapters, of the Manners, Customs, and 
Languages of the Indians, and to complete the whole, add 
a Vocabulary of the Words mostly in use among them. 

And here it is necessary to bespeak the candour of the 
learned part of my Readers in the perusal of it, as it is the 
production of a person unused, from opposite avocations, 
to literary pursuits. He therefore begs they would not 
examine it with too critical an eye ; especially when he 
assures them that his attention has been more employed on 
giving a just description of a country that promises, in some 
future period, to be an inexhaustible source of riches to that 
people who shall be so fortunate as to possess it, than on 
the style or composition; and more careful to render his 
language intelligible and explicit, than smooth and florid. 





In June 1766, I set out from Boston, and proceeded 
by way of Albany and Niagara, to Michillimackinac ; a 
Fort situated between the Lakes Huron and Michigan, and 
distant from Boston 1300 miles. This being the uttermost 
of our factories towards the north-west, I considered it as 
the most convenient place from whence I could begin my 
intended progress, and enter at once into the Regions I de- 
signed to explore. 

Referring my Readers to the publications already extant 
for an Account of those Parts of North America, that, from 
lying adjacent to the Back-Settlements, have been frequently 
described, I shall confine myself to a Description of the 
more interior parts of it, which having been but seldom 
visited, are consequently but little known. In doing this, 
I shall in no instance exceed the bounds of truth, or have 
recourse to those useless and extravagant exaggerations 
too often made use of by travellers, to excite the curiosity 
of the public, or to increase their own importance. Nor 
shall I insert any observations, but such as I have made 
myself, or, from the credibility of those by whom they were 
related, am enabled to vouch for their authenticity. 


0* r 

r ^4 j 

Michillimackinac, from whence I began my travels, is ® 
Fort composed of a strong stockade, and is usually defended 
by a garrison of one hundred men. It contains about thirty 
houses, one of which belongs to the governor, and another 
to the commissary. Several traders also dwell within its 
fortifications, who find it a convenient situation to traffic 
with the neighbouring nations. Michillimackinac, in the 
language of the Chipeway Indians, signifies a Tortoise ; 
and the place is supposed to receive its name from an isl- 
and, lying about six or seven miles to the north-east, within 
sight of the Fort, which has the appearance of that animal. 

During the Indian war that followed soon after the Con- 
quest of Canada in the year 1763, and which was carried 
on by an army of confederate nations composed of the 
Hurons, Miamies, Chipeways, Ottowaws, Pontowattimies, 
Mississauges, and some other tribes, under the direction 
of Pontiac, a celebrated Indian warrior, who had always 
been in the French interest, it was taken by surprise in the 
following manner: The Indians having settled their plan, 
drew near the Fort, and began a game at Ball, a pastime 
much used among them, and not unlike tennis. In the 
height of their game, at which some of the English officers,, 
not suspecting any deceit, stood looking on, they struck the 
ball, as if by accident, over the stockade ; this they repeated 
two or three times, to make the deception more complete ; 
till at length, having by this means lulled every suspicion 
of the centry at the south gate, a party rushed by him ; 
and the rest soon following, they took possession of the 
Fort, without meeting with any opposition. Having ac- 
complished their design, the Indians had the humanity to 
spare the lives of the greatest part of the garrison and 
traders, but they made them all prisoners, and carried 
them off. However some time after they took them tc* 
Montreal, where they were redeemed at a good price. 
The Fort also was given up again to the English at the; 

[ 35 ] 

peace made with Pontiac by the commander of Detroit the 
year following. 

Having here made the necessary dispositions for pursu- 
ing my travels, and obtained a credit from Mr. Rogers, 
the governor, on some English and Canadian traders who 
were going to trade on the Mississippi, and received also 
from him a promise of a fresh supply of goods when I 
reached the Falls of Saint Anthony, I left the Fort on the 
3d of September, in company with these traders. It was 
agreed, that they should furnish me with such goods as I 
might want, for presents to the Indian chiefs, during my 
continuance with them, agreeable to the governor's order. 
But when I arrived at the extent of their route, I was to 
find other guides, and to depend on the goods the governor 
had promised to supply me with. 

We accordingly set out together, and on the 18th ar- 
rived at Fort La Bay. This Fort is situated on the south- 
ern extremity of a Bay in Lake Michigan, termed by the 
French the Bay of Puants ; but which, since the English 
have gained possession of all the settlements on this part 
of the Continent, is called by them the Green Bay. The 
reason of its being thus denominated, is from its appear- 
ance ; for on leaving Michillimackinac in the spring season, 
though the trees there have not even put forth their buds, 
yet you find the country around La Bay, notwithstanding 
the passage has not exceeded fourteen days, covered with 
the finest verdure, and vegetation as forward as it could be 
were it summer. 

This Fort, also, is only surrounded by a stockade, and 
being much decayed is scarcely defensible against small 
arms. It was built by the French for the protection of their 
trade, some time before they were forced to relinquish it - ? 
and when Canada and its dependencies were surrendered 
to the English, it was immediately garrisoned with an of- 
ficer and thirty men. These were made prisoners by the 

[ 36 ] 

Menomonies soon after the surprise of Michillimackinae, 
and the Fort has neither been garrisoned or kept in repair 

The Bay is about ninety miles long, but differs much in 
its breadth ; being in some places only fifteen miles, in 
others from twenty to thirty. It lies nearly from north- 
east to south-west. At the entrance of it from the Lake 
are a string of islands, extending from north to south, called 
the Grand Traverse. These are about thirty miles in length, 
and serve to facilitate the passage of canoes, as they shelter 
them from the winds, which sometimes come with violence 
across the Lake. On the side that lies to the south-east is 
the nearest and best navigation. 

The islands of the Grand Traverse are mostly small and 
rocky. Many of the rocks are of an amazing size, and 
appear as if they had been fashioned by the hands of artists. 
On the largest and best of these islands stands a town of 
the Ottowaws, at which I found one of the most consider- 
able chiefs of that nation, who received me with every 
honour he could possibly show to a stranger. But what 
appeared extremely singular to me at the time, and must 
do so to every person unacquainted with the customs of the 
Indians, was the reception I met with on landing. As our 
canoes approached the shore, and had reached within about 
threescore rods of it, the Indians began a feu-de-joy ; in 
which they fired their pieces loaded with balls ; but at the 
same time they took care to discharge them in such a man- 
ner, as to fly a few yards above our heads : during this they 
ran from one tree or stump to another, shouting and be- 
having as if they were in the heat of battle. At first I was 
greatly surprised, and was on the point of ordering my at- 
tendants to return their fire, concluding that their intentions 
were hostile ; but being undeceived by some of the traders, 
who informed me that this was their usual method of re- 
ceiving the chiefs of other nations, I considered it in its true 
light, and w r as pleased with the respect thus paid me. 

[ 37 ] 

I remained here one night. Among the presents I made 
the chiefs, were some spirituous liquors ; with which they 
made themselves merry, and all joined in a dance, that 
lasted the greatest part of the night. In the morning when 
I departed, the chief attended me to the shore, and, as soon 
as I had embarked, offered up, in an audible voice, and 
with great solemnity, a fervent prayer in my behalf. He 
prayed " that the Great Spirit would favour me with a 
prosperous voyage ; that he would give me an unclouded 
sky, and smooth waters, by day, and that I might lie down, 
by night, on a beaver blanket, enjoying uninterrupted sleep, 
and pleasant dreams ; and also that I might find continual 
protection under the great pipe of peace." In this manner 
he continued his petitions till I could no longer hear them. 

I must here observe, that notwithstanding the inhabitants 
of Europe are apt to entertain horrid ideas of the ferocity 
of these savages, as they are termed, I received from every 
tribe of them in the interior parts, the most hospitable and 
courteous treatment ; and am convinced, that till they are 
contaminated by the example and spirituous liquors of their 
more refined neighbours, they retain this friendly and in- 
offensive conduct towards strangers. Their inveteracy and 
cruelty to their enemies I acknowledge to be a great abate- 
ment of the favourable opinion I would wish to entertain 
of them ; but this failing is hereditary, and having received 
the sanction of immemorial custom, has taken too deep root 
in their minds to be ever extirpated. 

Among this people I eat of a very uncommon kind of 
bread. The Indians, in general, use but little of this nutri- 
tious food : whilst their corn is in the milk, as they term it, 
that is, just before it begins to ripen, they slice ofFthe kernels 
from the cob to which they grow, and knead them into a 
paste. This they are enabled to do without the addition of 
any liquid, by the milk that flows from them ; and when it 
is effected, they parcel it out into cakes, and inclosing them 

[ 38 ] 

In leaves of the basswood tree, place them in hot embers, 
where they are soon baked. And better flavoured bread I 
never eat in any country. 

This place i$. only a small village containing about 
twenty-five houses and sixty or seventy warriors. I found 
nothing there worthy of further remark. 

The land on the south-east side of the Green Bay is but 
very indifferent, being overspread with a heavy growth of 
hemlock, pine, spruce and fir trees. The communication 
between Lake Michigan and the Green Bay has been re- 
ported by some to be impracticable for the passage of any 
vessels larger than canoes or boats, on account of the shoals 
that lie between the islands in the Grand Traverse ; but on 
sounding it I found sufficient depth for a vessel of sixty 
tons, and the breadth proportionable. 

The land adjoining to the bottom of this Bay is very 
fertile, the country in general level, and the perspective 
view of it pleasing and extensive. 

A few families live in the Fort, which lies on the west 
side of the Fox River, and opposite to it, on the east side 
of its entrance, are some French settlers who cultivate the 
land, and appear to live very comfortably. 

The Green Bay or Bay of Puants is one of those places 
to which the French, as I have mentioned in the Introduc- 
tion, have given nicknames. It is termed by the inhabitants 
of its coasts, the Menomonie Bay ; but why the French 
have denominated it the Puant or Stinking Bay I know not. 
The reason they themselves give for it is, that it was not 
with a view to mislead strangers, but that by adopting this 
method they could converse with each other, concerning 
the Indians, in their presence, without being understood by 
them. For it was remarked by the persons who first traded 
among them, that when they were speaking to each other 
about them, and mentioned their proper name, they in- 
stantly grew suspicious, and concluded that their visiters 

f 39 ] 

were either speaking ill of them, or plotting their destruc- 
tion. To remedy this they gave them some other name. 
The only bad consequence arising from the practice then 
introduced is, that English and French geographers, in their 
plans of the interior parts of America, give different names; 
to the same people, and thereby perplex those who have 
occasion to refer to them. 

Lake Michigan, of which the Green Bay is a part, is di- 
vided on the north-east from Lake Huron by the Straits of 
Michillimackinae ; and is situated between forty-two and 
forty-six degrees of latitude, and between eighty-four and 
eighty-seven degrees of west longitude. Its greatest length 
is two hundred and eighty miles, its breadth about forty, 
and its circumference nearly six hundred. There is a re- 
markable string of small islands beginning over againsfe 
Askin's Farm, and running about thirty miles south-west 
into the Lake. These are called the Beaver Islands. 
Their situation is very pleasant, but the soil is bare. How- 
ever they afford a beautiful prospect. 

On the north-west parts of this Lake the waters branch 
out into two bays. That which lies towards the north is 
the Bay of Noquets, and the other the Green Bay just 

The waters of this as well as the other great Lakes are 
clear and wholesome, and of sufficient depth for the navi- 
gation of large ships. Half the space of the country that 
lies to the east, and extends to Lake Huron, belongs to the 
Ottowaw Indians. The line that divides their territories 
from the Chipeways, runs nearly north and south, and 
reaches almost from the southern extremity of this Lake, 
across the high lands, to Michillimackinae, through the 
center of which it passes. So that when these two tribes 
happen to meet at the factory, they each encamp on their 
own dominions, at a few yards distance from the stockade. 

The country adjacent, either to the east or west side of 

t 40 ] 

this lake is composed but of an indifferent soil, except where 
small brooks or rivers empty themselves into it ; on the 
banks of these it is extremely fertile. Near the borders of 
the Lake grow a great number of sand cherries, which are 
not less remarkable for their manner of growth, than for 
their exquisite flavour. They grow upon a small shrub 
not more than four feet high, the boughs of which are so 
loaded that they lie in clusters on the sand. As they grow 
only on the sand, the warmth of which probably contributes 
to bring them to such perfection, they are called by the 
French, cherries de sable, or sand cherries. The size of 
them does not exceed that of a small musket ball, but they 
are reckoned superior to any other sort for the purpose of 
steeping in spirits. There also grow around the Lake 
gooseberries, black currants, and an abundance of juniper, 
bearing great quantities of berries of the finest sort. 

Sumack likewise grows here in great plenty ; the leaf 
of which, gathered at Michaelmas when it turns red, is 
much esteemed by the natives. They mix about an equal 
quantity of it with their tobacco, which causes it to smoke 
pleasantly. Near this Lake, and indeed about all the great 
lakes, is found a kind of willow, termed by the French, bois 
rouge, in English red wood. Its bark, when only of one 
year's growth, is of a fine scarlet colour, and appears very 
beautiful ; but as it grows older, it changes into a mixture 
of grey and red. The stalks of this shrub grow many of 
them together, and rise to the height of six or eight feet, the 
largest not exceeding an inch diameter. The bark being 
scraped from the sticks, and dried and powdered, is also 
mixed by the Indians with their tobacco, and is held by 
them in the highest estimation for their winter smoaking. 
A weed that grows near the great lakes, in rocky places, 
they use in the summer season. It is called by the Indians, 
Segockimac, and creeps like a vine on the ground, some- 
times extending to eight or ten feet, and bearing a leaf about 

[ 41 ] 

the size of a silver penny, nearly round ; it is of the sub- 
stance and colour of the laurel, and is, like the tree it re- 
sembles, an evergreen. These leaves, dried and powdered, 
they likewise mix with their tobacco ; and, as said before, 
smoak it only during the summer. By these three suc- 
cedaneums the pipes of the Indians are well supplied 
through every season of the year ; and as they are great 
smoakers, they are very careful in properly gathering and 
preparing them. 

On the 20th of September I left the Green Bay, and pro- 
ceeded up Fox River, still in company with the traders and 
some Indians. On the 25th I arrived at the great town of 
the Winnebagoes, situated on a small island just as you 
enter the east end of Lake Winnebago. Here the queen 
who presided over this tribe instead of a Sachem, received 
me with great civility, and entertained me in a very dis- 
tinguished manner, during the four days I continued with her. 

The day after my arrival I held a council with the chiefs, 
of whom I asked permission to pass through their country, 
in my way to more remote nations on business of impor- 
tance. This w T as readily granted me, the request being 
esteemed by them as a great compliment paid to their 
tribe. The Queen sat in the council, but only asked a few 
questions, or gave some trifling directions in matters rela- 
tive to the state ; for women are never allowed to sit in 
their councils, except they happen to be invested with the 
supreme authority, and then it is not customary for them 
to make any formal speeches as the chiefs do. She was a 
very ancient woman, small in stature, and not much distin- 
guished by her dress from several young women that at- 
tended her. These her attendants seemed greatly pleased 
whenever I showed any tokens of respect to their queen, 
particularly when I saluted her, which I frequently did to 
acquire her favour. On these occasions the good old lady 


[ 42 ] 

endeavoured to assume a juvenile gaiety, and by her smiles 
showed she was equally pleased with the attention I paid her. 

The time I tarried here, I employed in making the best 
observations possible on the country, and in collecting the 
most certain intelligence I could of the origin, language, 
and customs of this people. From these enquiries I have 
reason to conclude, that the Winnebagoes originally resided 
in some of the provinces belonging to New Mexico ; and 
being driven from their native country, either by intestine 
divisions, or by the extension of the Spanish conquests, they 
took refuge in these more northern parts about a century ago. 

My reasons for adopting this supposition, are, first from 
their unalienable attachment to the Naudowessie Indians 
(who, they say, gave them the earliest succour during their 
emigration) notwithstanding their present residence is more 
than six hundred miles distant from that people. 

Secondly, that their dialect totally differs from every other 
Indian nation yet discovered ; it being a very uncouth gut- 
tural jargon, which none of their neighbours will attempt 
to learn. They converse with other nations in the Chipe- 
way tongue, which is the prevailing language throughout 
all the tribes, from the Mohawks of Canada to those who 
inhabit the borders of the Mississippi, and from the Hurons 
and Illinois to such as dwell near Hudson's Bay. 

Thirdly, from their inveterate hatred to the Spaniards. 
Some of them informed me that they had made many ex- 
cursions to the south-west, w 7 hich took up several moons. 
An elderly chief more particularly acquainted me, that 
about forty-six winters ago, he marched, at the head of fifty 
warriors, towards the south-west, for three moons. That 
during this expedition, whilst they were crossing a plain, 
they discovered a body of men on horseback, who belonged 
to the Black People ; for so they call the Spaniards. As 
soon as they perceived them, they proceeded with caution, 
and concealed themselves till night came on ; when they 

r 43 ] 

drew so near as to be able to discern the number and situ- 
ation of their enemies. Finding they were not able to cope 
with so great a superiority by day-light, they waited till 
they had retired to rest ; when they rushed upon them, 
and, after having killed the greatest part of the men, took 
eighty horses loaded with what they termed white stone. 
This I suppose to have been silver, as he told me the horses 
were shod with it, and that their bridles were ornamented 
with the same. When they had satiated their revenge, 
they carried off their spoil, and being got so far as to be 
out of the reach of the Spaniards that had escaped their 
fury, they left the useless and ponderous burthen, with 
which the horses were loaded, in the woods, and mounting 
themselves, in this manner returned to their friends. The 
party they had thus defeated, I conclude to be the caravan 
that annually conveys to Mexico, the silver which the 
Spaniards find in great quantities on the mountains lying 
near the heads of the Coloredo River : and the plains where 
the attack was made, probably, some they were obliged to 
pass over in their way to the heads of the River St. Fee, or 
Rio del Nord, which falls into the Gulph of Mexico to the 
west of the Mississippi. 

The Winnebagoes can raise about two hundred war- 
riors. Their town contains about fifty houses, which are 
strongly built with palisades, and the island on which it is 
situated nearly fifty acres. It lies thirty-five miles, reckon- 
ing according to the course of the river, from the Green Bay. 

The River, for about four or five miles from the Bay, has 
a gentle current ; after that space, till you arrive at the 
Winnebago Lake, it is full of rocks and very rapid. At 
many places we were obliged to land our canoes, and carry 
them a considerable way. Its breadth, in general, from the 
Green Bay to the Winnebago Lake, is between seventy and 
a hundred yards : the land on its borders very good, and 
thinly wooded with hickery, oak, and hazel. 

[ 44 ] 

The Winnebago Lake is about fifteen miles long from 
east to west, and six miles wide. At its south-east corner, 
a river falls into it that takes its rise near some of the 
northern branches of the Illinois River. This I called the 
Crocodile River, in consequence of a story that prevails 
among the Indians, of their having destroyed, in some part 
of it, an animal, which from their description must be a 
crocodile or an alligator. 

The land adjacent to the Lake is very fertile, abounding 
with grapes, plums, and other fruits, which grow sponta- 
neously. The Winnebagoes raise on it a great quantity 
of Indian corn, beans, pumpkins, squash, and water mel- 
ons, with some tobacco. The Lake itself abounds with 
fish, and in the fall of the year, with geese, ducks, and teal. 
The latter, which resort to it in great numbers, are remark- 
ably good and extremely fat, and are much better flavoured 
than those that are found near the sea, as they acquire their 
excessive fatness by feeding on the wild rice, which grow 
so plentifully in these parts. 

Having made some acceptable presents to the good old 
queen, and received her blessing, I left the town of the 
Winnebagoes on the 29th of September, and about twelve 
miles from it arrived at the place where the Fox River 
enters the Lake on the north side of it. We proceeded up 
this river, and on the 7th of October reached the great 
Carrying Place, which divides it from the Ouisconsin. 

The Fox River, from the Green Bay to the Carrying 
Place, is about one hundred and eighty miles. From the 
Winnebago Lake to the Carrying Place the current is 
gentle, and the depth of it considerable ; notwithstanding 
which, in some places it is with difficulty that canoes can 
pass, through the obstructions they meet with from the 
rice stalks, which are very large and thick, and grow here 
in great abundance. The country around it is very fertile 
and proper in the highest degree for cultivation, excepting 

[ 45 ] 

in some places near the River, where it is rather too low. 
It is in no part very woody, and yet can supply sufficient 
to answer the demands of any number of inhabitants. This 
river is the greatest resort for wild fowl of every kind that 
I met with in the whole course of my travels ; frequently 
the sun would be obscured by them for some minutes 

About forty miles up this river, from the great town of 
the Winnebagoes, stands a smaller town belonging to that 

Deer and bears are very numerous in these parts, and a 
great many beavers and other furs are taken on the streams 
that empty themselves into this river. 

The River I am treating of, is remarkable for having 
been, about eighty years ago, the residence of the united 
bands of the Ottigaumies and the Saukies, whom the French 
had nicknamed, according to their wonted custom, Des 
Sacs and Des Reynards, the Sacks and the Foxes, of whom 
the following anecdote was related to me by an Indian. 

About sixty years ago, the French missionaries and 
traders having received many insults from these people, a 
party of French and Indians under the command of Cap- 
tain Morand marched to revenge their wrongs. The cap- 
tain set out from the Green Bay in the winter, when they 
were unsuspicious of a visit of this kind, and pursuing his 
route over the snow to their villages, which lay about fifty 
miles up the Fox River, came upon them by surprize. 
Unprepared as they were, he found them an easy con- 
quest, and consequently killed or took prisoners the great- 
est part of them. On the return of the French to the 
Green Bay, one of the Indian chiefs in alliance with them, 
who had a considerable band of the prisoners under his 
care, stopped to drink at a brook; in the mean time his 
companions went on : which being observed by one of the 
women whom they had made captive, she suddenly seized 

[ 46 ] 

him with both her hands, whilst he stooped to drink, by an 
exquisitely susceptible part, and held him fast till he ex- 
pired on the spot. As the chief, from the extreme torture 
he suffered, was unable to call out to his friends, or to give 
any alarm, they passed on without knowing what had hap- 
pened ; and the woman having cut the bands of those of 
her fellow prisoners who were in the rear, with them made 
her escape. This heroine was ever after treated by her 
nation as their deliverer, and made a chiefess in her own 
right, with liberty to entail the same honour on her de- 
scendants: an unusual distinction, and permitted only on 
extraordinary occasions. 

About twelve miles before I reached the Carrying Place, 
I observed several small mountains which extended quite 
to it. These indeed would only be esteemed as molehills 
when compared with those on the back of the colonies, but 
as they were the first I had seen since my leaving .Niag- 
ara, a track of nearly eleven hundred miles, I could not 
leave them unnoticed. 

The Fox River, where it enters the Winnebago Lake, is 
about fifty yards wide, but it gradually decreases to the 
Carrying Place, where it is no more than five yards over, 
except in a few places where it widens into small lakes, 
though still of a considerable depth. I cannot recollect 
any thing else that is remarkable in this River, except that 
it so serpentines for five miles, as only to gain in that place 
one quarter of a mile. 

The Carrying Place between the Fox and Ouisconsin 
Rivers is in breadth not more than a mile and three quar- 
ters, though in some maps it is so delineated as to appear 
to be ten miles. And here I cannot help remarking, that 
all the maps of these parts, I have ever seen, are very 
erroneous. The rivers in general are described as run- 
ning in different directions from what they really do ; and 
many branches of them, particularly of the Mississippi, 

[ 47 ] 

omitted. The distances of places, likewise, are greatly 
misrepresented. Whether this is done by the French ge- 
ographers (for the English maps are all copied from theirs) 
through design, or for want of a just knowledge of the 
country, I cannot say ; but I am satisfied that travellers 
who depend upon them in the parts I visited, will find 
themselves much at a loss. Having surveyed with the 
greatest care, every country through which I passed, I can 
assert that the plan prefixed to this work is drawn with 
much greater precision than any extant. 

Near one half of the way, between the rivers, is a morass 
overgrown with a kind of long grass, the rest of it a plain, 
with some few oak and pine trees growing thereon. I 
observed here a great number of rattle-snakes. Mons. Pin- 
nisance, a French trader, told me a remarkable story con- 
cerning one of these reptiles, of which he said he was an 
eye-witness. An Indian, belonging to the Menomonie na- 
tion, having taken one of them, found means to tame it; 
and when he had done this, treated it as a Deity ; calling 
it his Great Father, and carrying it with him in a box 
wherever he went. This the Indian had done for several 
summers, when Mons. Pinnisance accidentally met with 
him at this Carrying Place, just as he was setting off for a 
winter's hunt. The French gentleman was surprized, one 
day, to see the Indian place the box which contained his 
god on the ground, and opening the door give him his lib- 
erty ; telling him, whilst he did it, to be sure and return by 
the time he himself should come back, which was to be in 
the month of May following. As this was but October, 
Monsieur told the Indian, whose simplicity astonished him, 
that he fancied he might wait long enough when May 
arrived, for the arrival of his great father. The Indian 
was so confident of his creature's obedience, that he offered 
to lay the Frenchman a wager of two gallons of rum, that 
at the time appointed he would come and crawl into his 

[ 48 ] 

box. This was agreed on, and the second week in May 
following fixed for the determination of the wager. At 
that period they both met there again ; when the Indian set 
down his box, and called for his great father. The snake 
heard him not; and the time being now expired, he ac- 
knowledged that he had lost. However, without seeming 
to be discouraged, he offered to double the bett if his great 
father came not within two days more. This was further 
agreed on ; when behold on the second day, about one 
o'clock, the snake arrived, and, of his own accord, crawled 
into the box, which was placed ready for him. The 
French gentleman vouched for the truth of this story, and 
from the accounts I have often received of the docility of 
those creatures, I see no reason to doubt his veracity. 

I observed that the main body of the Fox River came 
from the south-west, that of the Ouisconsin from the north- 
east ; and also that some of the small branches of these two 
rivers, in descending into them, doubled, within a few feet 
of each other, a little to the south of the Carrying Place. 
That two such Rivers should take their rise so near each 
other, and after running such different courses, empty 
themselves into the sea at a distance so amazing (for the 
former having passed through several great lakes, and run 
upwards of two thousand miles, falls into the Gulf of St. 
Lawrence, and the other, after joining the Mississippi, and 
having run an equal number of miles, disembogues itself 
into the Gulph of Mexico) is an instance scarcely to be met 
in the extensive continent of North America. I had an 
opportunity the year following, of making the same obser- 
vations on the affinity of various head branches of the 
waters of the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi to each 
other ; and now bring them as a proof, that the opinion of 
those geographers, who assert, that rivers taking their rise 
so near each other, must spring from the same source, is 
erroneous. For I perceived a visibly distinct separation in 

[ 49 ] 

all of them, notwithstanding, in some places, they ap- 
proached so near, that I could have stepped from one to 
the other. 

On the 8th of October we got our canoes into the Ouis- 
consin River, which at this place is more than a hundred 
yards wide ; and the next day arrived at the Great Town 
of the Saukies. This is the largest and best built Indian 
town I ever saw. It contains about ninety houses, each 
large enough for several families. These are built of hewn 
plank neatly jointed, and covered with bark so compactly 
as to keep out the most penetrating rains. Before the 
doors are placed comfortable sheds, in which the inhabi- 
tants sit, when the weather will permit, and smoak their 
pipes. The streets are regular and spacious ; so that it 
appears more like a civilized town than the abode of sav- 
ages. The land near the town is very good. In their 
plantations, which lie adjacent to their houses, and which 
are neatly laid out, they raise great quantities of Indian 
corn, beans, melons, &c. so that this place is esteemed the 
best market for traders to furnish themselves with provis- 
ions, of any within eight hundred miles of it. 

The Saukies can raise about three hundred warriors, 
who are generally employed every summer in making in- 
cursions into the territories of the Illinois and Pawnee na- 
tions, from whence they return with a great number of 
slaves. But those people frequently retaliate, and, in their 
turn, destroy many of the Saukies, which I judge to be the 
reason that they increase no faster. 

Whilst I staid here, I took a view of some mountains 
that lie about fifteen miles to the southward, and abound in 
lead ore. I ascended one of the highest of these, and had 
an extensive view of the country. For many miles nothing 
was to be seen but lesser mountains, which appeared at a 
distance like haycocks, they being free from trees. Only a 
few groves of hickery, and stunted oaks, covered some of 


[ 50 ] 

the vallies. So plentiful is lead here, that I saw large 
quantities of it lying about the streets in the town belong- 
ing to the Saukies, and it seemed to be as good as the pro- 
duce of other countries. 

On the 10th of October we proceeded down the river, 
and the next day reached the first town of the Ottigaumies. 
This town contained about fifty houses, but we found most 
of them deserted, on account of an epidemical disorder that 
had lately raged among them, and carried off more than 
one half of the inhabitants. The greater part of those who 
survived had retired into the woods, to avoid the con- 

On the 15th we entered that extensive river the Mis- 
sissippi. The Ouisconsin, from the Carrying Place to the 
part where it falls into the Mississippi, flows with a smooth 
but a strong current ; the water of it is exceedingly clear, 
and through it you may perceive a fine and sandy bottom, 
tolerably free from rocks. In it are a few islands, the soil 
of which appeared to be good, though somewhat woody. 
The land near the river also seemed to be, in general, ex- 
cellent ; but that at a distance is very full of mountains, 
where it is said there are many lead mines. 

About five miles from the junction of the rivers, I ob- 
served the ruins of a large town in a very pleasing situation. 
On enquiring of the neighbouring Indians why it was thus 
deserted, I was informed, that about thirty years ago, the 
Great Spirit had appeared on the top of a pyramid of rocks, 
which lay at a little distance from it, towards the west, and 
warned them to quit their habitations ; for the land on which 
they were built belonged to him, and he had occasion for it. 
As a proof that he, who gave them these orders, was really 
the Great Spirit, he further told them, that the grass should 
immediately spring upon those very rocks from whence he 
now addressed them, which they knew to be bare and bar- 
ren. The Indians obeyed, and soon after discovered that 

[ 51 ] 

this miraculous alteration had taken place. They shewed 
me the spot, but the growth of the grass appeared to be no 
ways supernatural. I apprehend this to have been a strat- 
agem of the French or Spaniards to answer some selfish 
view ; but in what manner they effected their purpose I 
know not. 

This people, soon after their removal, built a town on the 
bank of the Mississippi, near the mouth of the Ouisconsin, 
at a place called by the French La Prairies les Chiens, 
which signifies the Dog Plains ; it is a large town, and con- 
tains about three hundred families ; the houses are well 
built after the Indian manner, and pleasantly situated on a 
very rich soil, from which they raise every necessary of 
life in great abundance. I saw here many horses of a good 
size and shape. This town is the great mart, where all the 
adjacent tribes, and even those who inhabit the most remote 
branches of the Mississippi, annually assemble about the 
latter end of May, bringing with them their furs to dispose 
of to the traders.* But it is not always that they conclude 
their sale here ; this is determined by a general council of 
the chiefs, who consult whether it would be more con- 
ducive to their interest, to sell their goods at this place, or 
carry them on to Louisiana, or Michillimackinac. Accord- 
ing to the decision of this council they either proceed further, 
or return to their different homes. 

The Mississippi, at the entrance of the Ouisconsin, near 
which stands a mountain of considerable height, is about 
half a mile over ; but opposite to the last mentioned town 
it appears to be more than a mile wide, and full of islands, 
the soil of which is extraordinary rich, and but thinly 

A little farther to the west, on the contrary side, a small 
river falls into the Mississippi, which the French call Le 
Jaun Riviere, or the Yellow River. Here the traders who 
had accompanied me hitherto, took up their residence for 

[ 52 ] 

the winter. I then bought a canoe, and with two servants, 
one a French Canadian and the other a Mohawk of Canada, 
on the 19th proceeded up the Mississippi. 

About ten days after I had parted from the traders, I 
landed as I usually did every evening, and having pitched 
my tent, I ordered my men, when night came on, to lay 
themselves down to sleep. By a light that I kept burning 
I then sat down to copy the minutes I had taken in the 
course of the preceding day. About ten o'clock, having 
just finished my memorandums, I stepped out of my tent to 
see what weather it was. As I cast my eyes towards the 
bank of the river, I thought I saw by the light of the stars 
which shone bright, something that had the appearance of 
a herd of beasts coming down a descent at some distance ; 
whilst I was wondering what they could be, one of the 
number suddenly sprung up and discovered to me the form 
of a man. In an instant they were all on their legs, and I 
could count about ten or twelve of them running towards 
me. I immediately re-entered the tent, and awaking my 
men, ordered them to take their arms and follow me. As 
my first apprehensions were for my canoe, I ran to the 
water's side, and found a party of Indians (for such I now 
discovered them to be) on the point of plundering it. Be- 
fore I reached them I commanded my men not to fire till I 
had given the word, being unwilling to begin hostilities un- 
less occasion absolutely required. I accordingly advanced 
with resolution, close to the points of their spears, they had 
no other weapons, and brandishing my hanger, asked them 
with a stern voice, what they wanted. They were stag- 
gered at this, and perceiving they were like to meet with a 
warm reception, turned about and precipitately retreated. 
We pursued them to an adjacent wood, which they entered, 
and we saw no more of them. However, for fear of their 
return, we watched alternately during the remainder of the 
night. The next day my servants were under great appre- 

[ 03 ] 

hensions, and earnestly entreated me to return to the traders 
we had lately left. But I told them, that if they would not 
be esteemed old women (a term of the greatest reproach 
among the Indians) they must follow me ; for I was deter- 
mined to pursue my intended route, as an Englishman, 
when once engaged in an adventure, never retreated. On 
this they got into the canoe, and I walked on the shore to 
guard them from any further attack. The party of Indians 
who had thus intended to plunder me, I afterwards found 
to be some of those straggling bands, that having been 
driven from among the different tribes to which they be- 
longed for various crimes, now associated themselves to- 
gether, and, living by plunder, prove very troublesome to 
strangers who pass this way ; nor are even Indians of every 
tribe spared by them. The traders had before cautioned 
me to be upon my guard against Hem, and I would repeat 
the same caution to those whose business might call them 
into these parts. 

On the first of November I arrived at Lake Pepin, which 
is rather an extended part of the River Mississippi, that 
the French have thus denominated, about two hundred 
miles from the Ouisconsin. The Mississippi below this 
Lake flows with a gentle current, but the breadth of it is 
very uncertain, in some places it being upwards of a mile, 
in others not more than a quarter. This River has a range 
of mountains on each side throughout the whole of the way ; 
which in particular parts approach near to it, in others lie 
at a greater distance. The land betwixt the mountains, 
and on their sides, is generally covered with grass with a 
few groves of trees interspersed, near which large droves 
of deer and elk are frequently seen feeding. In many 
places pyramids of rocks appeared, resembling old ruinous 
towers; at others amazing precipices; and what is very 
remarkable, whilst this scene presented itself on one side, 
the opposite side of the same mountain was covered with 

[ 54 ] 

the finest herbage, which gradually ascended to its summit. 
From thence the most beautiful and extensive prospect that 
imagination can form opens to your view. Verdant plains, 
fruitful meadows, numerous islands, and all these abound- 
ing with a variety of trees that yield amazing quantities of 
fruit, without care or cultivation, such as the nut-tree, the 
maple which produces sugar, vines loaded with rich grapes, 
and plum-trees bending under their blooming burdens, but 
above all, the fine River flowing gently beneath, and reach- 
ing as far as the eye can extend, by turns attract your ad- 
miration and excite your wonder. 

The Lake is about twenty miles long and near six in 
breadth ; in some places it is very deep, and abounds with 
various kinds offish. Great numbers of fowl frequent also 
this Lake and rivers adjacent, such as storks, swans, geese, 
brants, and ducks : and in the groves are found great plenty 
of turkeys and partridges. On the plains are the largest 
buffaloes of any in America. Here I observed the ruins 
of a French factory, where it is said Captain St. Pierre re- 
sided, and carried on a very great trade with the Naudo- 
w T essies, before the reduction of Canada. 

About sixty miles below this Lake is a mountain remark- 
ably situated ; for it stands by itself exactly in the middle 
of the River, and looks as if it had slidden from the adjacent 
shore into the stream. It cannot be termed an island, as it 
rises immediately from the brink of the water to a consid- 
erable height. Both the Indians and the French call it the 
Mountain in the River. 

One day having landed on the shore of the Mississippi, 
some miles below Lake Pepin, whilst my attendants were 
preparing my dinner, I walked out to take a view of the 
adjacent country. I had not proceeded far, before I came 
to a fine, level, open plain, on which I perceived at a little 
distance, a partial elevation had the appearance of 
an intrenchment. On a nearer inspection I had greater 

[ 55 ] 

reason to suppose that it had really been intended for this 
many centuries ago. Notwithstanding it was now covered 
with grass, I could plainly discern that it had once been a 
breast- work of about four feet in height, extending the best 
part of a mile, and sufficiently capacious to cover five 
thousand men. Its form was somewhat circular, and its 
flanks reached to the River. Though much defaced by 
time, every angle was distinguishable, and appeared as 
regular, and fashioned with as much military skill, as if 
planned by Vauban himself. The ditch was not visible, 
but I thought on examining more curiously, that I could 
perceive there certainly had been one. From its situation 
also, I am convinced that it must have been designed for 
this purpose. It fronted the country, and the rear was 
covered by the River ; nor was there any rising ground 
for a considerable way that commanded it; a few strag- 
gling oaks were alone to be seen near it. In many places 
small tracks were worn across it by the feet of the elks and 
deer, and from the depth of the bed of earth by which it 
was covered, I was able to draw certain conclusions of its 
great antiquity. I examined all the angles and every part 
with great attention, and have often blamed myself since, 
for not encamping on the spot, and drawing an exact plan 
of it. To shew that this description is not the offspring of 
a heated imagination, or the chimerical tale of a mistaken 
traveller, I find on enquiry since my return, that Mons. St. 
Pierre and several traders have, at different times, taken 
notice of similar appearances, on which they have formed 
the same conjectures, but without examining them so 
minutely as I did. How a work of this kind could exist 
in a country that has hitherto (according to the general 
received opinion) been the seat of war to untutored Indians 
alone, whose whole stock of military knowledge has only, 
till within two centuries, amounted to drawing the bow, 
and whose only breast-work even at present is the thicket, 

t 56 ] 

I know not. I have given as exact an account as possible 
of this singular appearance, and leave to future explorers 
of these distant regions to discover whether it is a produc- 
tion of nature or art. Perhaps the hints I have here given 
might lead to a more perfect investigation of it, and give us 
very different ideas of the ancient state of realms that we 
at present believe to have been from the earliest period 
only the habitations of savages. 

The Mississippi, as far as the entrance of the River 
St. Croix, thirty miles above Lake Pepin, is very full of 
islands; some of which are of a considerable length. On 
these, also, grow great numbers of the maple or sugar 
tree, and around them vines loaded with grapes creeping 
to their very tops. From the Lake upwards few moun- 
tains are to be seen, and those but small. Near the River 
St. Croix reside three bands of the Naudowessie Indians, 
called the River Bands. 

This nation is composed, at present, of eleven bands. 
They were originally twelve ; but the Assinipoils some 
years ago revolting, and separating themselves from the 
others, there remain only at this time eleven. Those I met 
here are termed the River Bands; because they chiefly 
dwell near the banks of this River: the other eight are 
generally distinguished by the title of the Naudowessies of 
the Plains, and inhabit a country that lies more to the 
westward. The names of the former are the Nehoga- 
tawonahs, the Mawtawbauntowahs, and the Shahsween- 
towahs, and consist of about four hundred warriors. 

A little before I met with these three bands I fell in with 
a party of the Nawtawbauntowahs, amounting to forty 
warriors and their families. With these I resided a day or 
two, during which time five or six of their number, who 
had been out on an excursion, returned in great haste, and 
acquainted their companions that a large party of the 
Chipeway warriors, " enough," as they expressed them- 

[ 57 ] 

selves, " to swallow them all up," were close at their heels, 
and on the point of attacking their little camp. The chiefs 
applied to me, and desired I would put myself at their 
head, and lead them out to oppose their enemies. As I 
was a stranger, and unwilling to excite the anger of either 
nation, I knew not how to act ; and never found myself in 
a greater dilemma. Had I refused to assist the Naudowes- 
sies I should have drawn on myself their displeasure, or 
had I met the Chipeways with hostile intentions, I should 
have made that people my foes, and had I been fortunate 
enough to have escaped their arrows at this time, on some 
future occasion should probably have experienced the se- 
verity of their revenge. In this extremity I chose the 
middle course, and desired that the Naudowessies would 
suffer me to meet them, that I might endeavour to avert 
their fury. To this they reluctantly assented, being per- 
suaded, from the inveteracy which had long prevailed 
between them, that my remonstrances would be in vain. 

Taking my Frenchman with me, who could speak their 
language, I hastened towards the place where the Chipe- 
ways were supposed to be. The Naudowessies during 
this kept at a distance behind. As I approached them 
with the pipe of peace, a small party of their chiefs, con- 
sisting of about eight or ten, came in a friendly manner 
towards me ; with whom, by means of my interpreter, I 
held a long conversation ; the result of which was, that 
their rancour being by my persuasions in some measure 
mollified, they agreed to return back without accomplish- 
ing their savage purposes. During our discourse I could 
perceive, as they lay scattered about, that the party was 
very numerous, and many of them armed with muskets. 

Having happily succeeded in my undertaking, I returned 
without delay to the Naudowessies, and desired they would 
instantly remove their camp to some other part of the 
country, lest their enemies should repent of the promise 


[ 58 ] 

they had given, and put their intentions in "execution. 
They accordingly followed my advice, and immediately 
prepared to strike their tents. Whilst they were doing 
this they loaded me with thanks ; and when I had seen 
them on board their canoes I pursued my route. 

To this adventure I was chiefly indebted for the friendly 
reception I afterwards met with from the Naudowessies of 
the Plains, and for the respect and honours I received 
during my abode among them. And when I arrived many 
months after at the Chipeway village, near the Ottowaw 
lakes, I found that my fame had reached that place before 
me. The chiefs received me with great cordiality, and the 
elder part of them thanked me for the mischief I had pre- 
vented. They informed me, that the war between their 
nation and the Naudowessies had continued without inter- 
ruption for more than forty winters. That they had long 
wished to put an end to it, but this was generally pre- 
vented by the young warriors of either nation, who could 
not restrain their ardour when they met. They said, they 
should be happy if some chief of the same pacific disposi- 
tion as myself, and who possessed an equal degree of reso- 
lution and coolness, would settle in the country between 
the two nations ; for by the interference of such a person 
an accommodation, which on their parts they sincerely 
desired, might be brought about. As I did not meet any 
of the Naudowessies afterwards, I had not an opportunity 
of forwarding so good a work. 

About thirty miles below the Falls of St. Anthony, at 
which I arrived the tenth day after I left Lake Pepin, is a 
remarkable cave of an amazing depth. The Indians term 
it Wakon-teebe, that is, the Dwelling of the Great Spirit. 
The entrance into it is about ten feet wide, the height of it 
five feet. The arch within is near fifteen feet high and 
about thirty feet broad. The bottom of it consists of fine 
clear sand. About twenty feet from the entrance begins 

[ 59 ] 

a lake, the water of which is transparent, and extends to 
an unsearchable distance ; for the darkness of the cave 
prevents all attempts to acquire a knowledge of it. I 
threw a small pebble towards the interior parts of it with 
my utmost strength : I could hear that it fell into the water, 
and notwithstanding it was of so small a size, it caused an 
astonishing and horrible noise that reverberated through 
all those gloomy regions. I found in this cave many 
Indian hieroglyphicks, which appeared very ancient, for 
time had nearly covered them with moss, so that it was 
with difficulty I could trace them. They were cut in a 
rude manner upon the inside of the walls, which were com- 
posed of a stone so extremely soft that it might be easily 
penetrated with a knife : a stone every where to be found 
near the Mississippi. The cave is only accessible by 
ascending a narrow, steep passage that lies near the brink 
of the river. 

At a little distance from this dreary cavern is the bury- 
ing-place of several bands of the Naudowessie Indians : 
though these people have no fixed residence, living in 
tents, and abiding but a few months on one spot, yet they 
always bring the bones of their dead to this place ; which 
they take the opportunity of doing when the chiefs meet to 
hold their councils, and to settle all public affairs for the 
ensuing summer. 

Ten miles below the Falls of St. Anthony the River 
St. Pierre, called by the natives the Waddapawmenesotor, 
falls into the Mississippi from the west. It is not men- 
tioned by Father Hennipin, although a large fair river: this 
omission, I conclude, must have proceeded from a small 
island that is situated exactly at its entrance, by which the 
sight of it is intercepted. I should not have discovered this 
river myself, had I not taken a view, when I was search- 
ing for it, from the high lands opposite, which rise to a 
great height. 

[ 60 ] 

Nearly over against this river I was obliged to leave my 
canoe, on account of the i< e, and travel by land to the Falls 
of St. Anthony, where I arrived on the 17th of November. 
The Mississippi from the St. Pierre to this place is rather 
more rapid than I had hitherto found it, and without islands 
of any consideration. 

Before I left my canoe I overtook a young prince of the 
Winnebago Indians, who was going on an embassy to some 
of the bands of the Naudowessies. Finding that I intended 
to take a view of the Falls, he agreed to accompany me, 
his curiosity having been often excited by the accounts he 
had received from some of his chiefs : he accordingly left 
his family (for the Indians never travel without their house- 
holds) at this place, under the care of my Mohawk servant, 
and we proceeded together by land, attended only by my 
Frenchman, to this celebrated place. 

We could distinctly hear the noise of the water full fif- 
teen miles before we reached the Falls ; and I was greatly 
pleased and surprized, when I approached this astonishing 
work of nature : but I was not long at liberty to indulge 
these emotions, my attention being called off by the beha- 
viour of my companion. 

The prince had no sooner gained the point that overlooks 
this wonderful cascade, than he began with an audible voice 
to address the Great Spirit, one of whose places of residence 
he imagined this to be. He told him that he had come a 
long way to pay his adorations to him, and now would 
make him the best offerings in his power. He accordingly 
first threw his pipe into the stream ; then the roll that con- 
tained his tobacco ; after these, the bracelets he wore on his 
arms and wrists ; next an ornament that encircled his neck, 
composed of beads and wires; and at last the ear-rings 
from his ears ; in short, he presented to his god every part 
of his dress that was valuable : during this he frequently 
smote his breast with great violence, threw his arms about, 
and appeared to be much agitated, 

S A 


t 61 ] 

All this while he continued his adorations, and at length 
concluded them with fervent petitions that the Great Spirit 
would constantly afford us his protection on our travels, 
giving us a bright sun, a blue sky, and clear untroubled 
waters : nor would he leave the place till we had smoaked 
together with my pipe in honour of the Great Spirit. 

I was greatly surprized at beholding an instance of such 
elevated devotion in so young an Indian, and instead of. 
ridiculing the ceremonies attending it, as I observed my 
catholic servant tacitly did, I looked on the prince with a 
greater degree of respect for these sincere proofs he gave 
of his piety ; and I doubt not but that his offerings and 
prayers were as acceptable to the universal Parent of 
mankind, as if they had been made with greater pomp, or 
in a consecrated place. 

Indeed, the whole conduct of this young prince at once 
amazed and charmed me. During the few days we were 
together his attention seemed totally to be employed in 
yielding me every assistance in his power ; and even in so 
short a time he gave me innumerable proofs of the most 
generous and disinterested friendship ; so that on our re- 
turn I parted from him with great reluctance. "Whilst I 
beheld the artless, yet engaging manners of this unpolished 
savage, I could not help drawing a comparison between 
him and some of the more refined inhabitants of civilized 
countries, not much, I own, in favour of the latter. 

The Falls of St. Anthony received their name from 
Father Louis Hennipin, a French missionary, who trav- 
elled into these parts about the year 1680, and was the first 
European ever seen by the natives. This amazing body of 
waters, which are about 250 yards over, form a most 
pleasing cataract ; they fall perpendicularly about thirty 
feet, and the rapids below, in the space of 300 yards more, 
render the descent considerably greater ; so that when 
viewed at a distance they appear to be much higher than 

t 02 ] 

they really are. The above-mentioned traveller has laid 
them down at above sixty feet ; but he has made a greater 
error in calculating the height of the Falls of Niagara; 
which he asserts to be 600 feet ; whereas from latter ob- 
servations accurately made, it is well known that it does 
not exceed 140 feet. But the good father I fear too often 
had no other foundation for his accounts than report, or, at 
best, a slight inspection. 

In the middle of the Falls stands a small island, about 
forty feet broad and somewhat longer, on which grow a 
few cragged hemlock and spruce trees ; and about half way 
between this island and the eastern shore is a rock, lying 
at the very edge of the Fall, in an oblique position, that 
appeared to be about five or six feet broad, and thirty or 
forty long. These Falls vary much from all the others I 
have seen, as you may approach close to them without 
finding the least obstruction from any intervening hill or 

The country around them is extremely beautiful. It is 
not an interrupted plain where the eye finds no relief, but 
composed of many gentle ascents, which in the summer are 
covered with the finest verdure, and interspersed with 
little groves, that give a pleasing variety to the prospect. 
On the whole, when the Falls are included, which may be 
seen at the distance of four miles, a more pleasing and pic- 
turesque view cannot, I believe, be found throughout the 
universe. I could have wished that I had happened to en- 
joy this glorious sight at a more seasonable time of the 
year, whilst the trees and hillocks were clad in nature's 
gayest livery, as this must have greatly added to the pleas- 
ure I received ; however, even then it exceeded my warm- 
est expectations. I have endeavoured to give the Reader 
as just an idea of this enchanting spot as possible, in the 
plan annexed ; but all description, whether of the pencil or 
the pen, must fall infinitely short of the original. 

[ 63 ] 

At a little distance below the Falls stands a small island, 
of about an acre and half, on which grow a great number 
of oak trees, every branch of which, able to support the 
weight, was full of eagles nests. The reason that this kind 
of birds resort in such numbers to this spot, is that they are 
here secure from the attacks either of man or beast, their 
retreat being guarded by the Rapids, which the Indians 
never attempt to pass. Another reason is, that they find 
a constant supply of food for themselves and their young, 
from the animals and fish which are dashed to pieces by the 
Falls, and driven on the adjacent shore. 

Having satisfied my curiosity, as far as the eye of man 
can be satisfied, I proceeded on, still accompanied by my 
young friend, till I had reached the River St. Francis, near 
sixty miles above the Falls. To this river Father Hennipin 
gave the name of St. Francis, and this was the extent of 
his travels, as well as mine, towards the north-west. As 
the season was so advanced, and the weather extremely 
cold, I was not able to make so many observations on these 
parts as I otherwise should have done. 

It might however, perhaps, be necessary to observe, 
that in the little tour I made about the Falls, after travel- 
ling fourteen miles, by the side of the Mississippi, I came to 
a river nearly twenty yards wide, which ran from the north- 
east, called Rum River. And on the 20th of November 
came to another termed Goose River, about twelve yards 
wide. On the 21st I arrived at the St. Francis, which is 
about thirty yards wide. Here the Mississippi itself grows 
narrow, being not more than ninety yards over ; and ap- 
pears to be chiefly composed of small branches. The ice 
prevented me from noticing the depth of any of these three 

The country in some places is hilly, but without large 
mountains ; and the land is tolerably good. I observed 
here many deer and carribboos, some elk, with abundance 


[ 64 ] 

of beavers, otters, and other furs. A little above this, to 
the north-east, are a number of small lakes called the 
Thousand Lakes ; the parts about which, though but little 
frequented, are the best within many miles for hunting, as 
the hunter never fails of returning loaded beyond his ex- 

The Mississippi has never been explored higher up than 
the River St. Francis, and only by Father Hennipin and 
myself thus far. So that we are obliged solely to the In- 
dians, for all the intelligence we are able to give relative to 
the more northern parts. As this River is not navigable 
from the sea for vessels of any considerable burthen, much 
higher up than the Forks of the Ohio, and even that is ac- 
complished with great difficulty, owing to the rapidity of 
the current, and the windings of the river, those settlements 
that may be made on the interior branches of it, must be 
indisputably secure from the attacks of any maritime power. 
But at the same time the settlers will have the advantage 
of being able to convey their produce to the sea-ports with 
great facility, the current of the river from its source to its 
entrance into the Gulph of Mexico, being extremely fa- 
vourable for doing this in small craft. This might also in 
time be facilitated by canals or shorter cuts ; and a com- 
munication opened by water with New- York, Canada, &c. 
by way of the Lakes. The Forks of the Ohio are about 
nine hundred miles from the mouth of the Mississippi, fol- 
lowing the course of the river ; and the Messorie two hun- 
dred miles above these. From the latter it is about twenty 
miles to the Illinois River, and from that to the Ouisconsin, 
which I have given an account of, about eight hundred more. 

On the 25th I returned to my canoe, which I had left at 
the mouth of the River St. Pierre ; and here I parted with 
regret from my young friend the prince of the Winneba- 
goes. This river being clear of ice by reason of its south- 
ern situation, I found nothing to obstruct my passage. On 

[ 65 ] 

the 28th, being advanced about forty miles, I arrived at a 
small branch that fell into it from the north ; to which, as it 
had no name that I could distinguish it by, I gave my own ; 
and the Reader will find it in the plan of my travels de- 
nominated Carver's River. About forty miles higher up I 
came to the Forks of Verd and Red Marble Rivers, which 
join at some little distance before they enter the St. Pierre. 

The River St. Pierre, at its junction with the Missis- 
sippi, is about a hundred yards broad, and continues that 
breadth nearly all the way I sailed upon it. It has a great 
depth of water, and in some places runs very briskly. 
About fifty miles from its mouth are some rapids, and 
much higher up there are many others. 

I proceeded up this river about two hundred miles to the 
country of the Naudowessies of the Plains, which lies a lit- 
tle above the Forks formed by the Verd and Red Marble 
Rivers, just mentioned, where a branch from the south 
nearly joins the Messorie River. By the accounts I re- 
ceived from the Indians, I have reason to believe that the 
River St. Pierre and the Messorie, though they enter the 
Mississippi twelve hundred miles from each other, take 
their rise in the same neighbourhood ; and this within the 
space of a mile. The River St. Pierre's northern branch 
rises from a number of lakes near the shining mount- 
ains ; and it is from some of these, also, that a capital 
branch of the River Bourbon, which runs into Hudson's 
Bay, has its sources. 

From the intelligence I gained from the Naudowessie 
Indians, among whom I arrived the 7th of December, and 
whose language I perfectly acquired during a residence of 
five months ; and also from the accounts I afterwards ob- 
tained from the Assinipoils, who speak the same tongue, 
being a revolted band of the Naudowessies ; and from the 
Killistinoes, neighbours of the Assinipoils, who speak the 
Chipeway language, and inhabit the heads of the River 


f 66 ] 

Bourbon ; I say from these nations, together with my own 
observations, I have learned that the four most capital 
rivers on the Continent of North America, viz. the St. 
Lawrence, the Mississippi, the River Bourbon, and the 
Oregon or the River of the West (as I hinted in my intro- 
duction) have their sources in the same neighbourhood. 
The waters of the three former are within thirty miles of 
each other ; the latter, however, is rather farther west. 

This shews that these parts are the highest lands in 
North America ; and it is an instance not to be paralleled 
on the other three quarters of the globe, that four rivers of 
such magnitude should take their rise together, and each, 
after running separate courses, discharge their waters into 
different oceans at the distance of two thousand miles from 
their sources. For in their passage from this spot to the 
bay of St. Lawrence, east, to the bay of Mexico, south, to 
Hudson's Bay, north, and to the bay at the Straights of 
Annian, west, each of these traverse upwards of two thou- 
sand miles. 

I shall here give my Readers such reflections as occurred 
to me, when I had received this interesting information, 
and had, by numberless inquiries, ascertained the truth of 
it ; that is, as far as it was possible to arrive at a certainty 
without a personal investigation. 

It is well known that the Colonies, particularly those of 
New England and Canada, are greatly affected, about the 
time their winter sets in, by a north-west wind, which con- 
tinues for several months, and renders the cold much more 
intense there than it is in the interior parts of America. 
This I can, from my own knowledge, assert, as I found the 
winter, that I passed to the westward of the Mississippi, far 
from severe V and the north-west wind blowing on those 
countries considerably more temperate than I have often 
experienced it to be nearer the coast. And that this did 
not arise from an uncertainty of the seasons, but was an- 

[ 67 ] 

nually the case, I conclude, both from the small quantity of 
snow that then fell, and a total disuse of snow shoes by 
these Indians, without which none of the more eastern 
nations can possibly travel during the winter. 

As naturalists observe, that air resembles water in many 
respects, particularly by often flowing in a compact body ; 
and that this is generally remarked to be with the current 
of large streams, and seldom across them, may not the 
winds that set violently into the Bay of Mexico about the 
latter end of the year, take their course over the continent 
in the same direction as the Mississippi does ; till meeting 
with the north winds (that from a similar cause blow up 
the Bourbon from Hudson's Bay) they are forced across 
the great lakes, down the current of the waters of the 
St. Lawrence, and united, commit those ravages, and oc- 
casion those severe winters, experienced in the before- 
mentioned countries? During their progress over the 
lakes they become expanded, and consequently affect a 
greater tract of land than they otherwise would do. 

According to my scanty knowledge of natural philoso- 
phy this does not appear improbable. "Whether it is agree- 
able to the laws established by naturalists to account for 
the operations of that element, I know not. However, the 
description here given of the situation of these vast bodies 
of water, and their near approach to each other, with my 
own undigested suppositions of their effect on the winds, 
may prove perhaps, in abler hands, the means of leading to 
many useful discoveries. 

On the 7th of December, I arrived (as I said before) at 
the utmost extent of my travels towards the west ; where 
I met with a large party of the Naudowessie Indians, 
among whom I resided seven months. These constituted 
a part of the eight bands of the Naudowessies of the 
Plains ; and are termed the Wawpeentowahs, the Tintons, 
the Asrahcootans, the Mawhaws, and the Schians. The 

[ 68 ] 

other three bands, whose names are the Schianese, the 
Chongousceton, and the Waddapawjestin, dwell higher up, 
to the west of the River St. Pierre, on plains that, according 
to their account, are unbounded ; and probably terminate on 
the coast of the Pacific Ocean. The Naudowessie nation, 
when united, consists of more than two thousand warriors. 
The Assinipoils, who revolted from them, amount to about 
three hundred ; and leagued with the Killistinoes, live in 
a continued state of enmity with the other eleven bands. 

As I proceeded up the River St. Pierre, and had nearly 
reached the place where these people were encamped, I 
observed two or three canoes coming down the stream ; 
but no sooner had the Indians that were on board them dis- 
covered us, than they rowed toward the land, and leaping 
ashore with precipitation, left their canoes to float as the 
current drove them. In a few minutes I perceived some 
others ; who, as soon as they came in sight, followed, with 
equal speed, the example of their countrymen. 

I now thought it necessary to proceed with caution ; and 
therefore kept on the side of the river opposite to that on 
which the Indians had landed. However, I still continued 
my course, satisfied that the pipe of Peace which was fixed 
at the head of my canoe, and the English colours that were 
flying at the stern, would prove my security. After rowing 
about half a mile farther, in turning a point, I discovered a 
great number of tents, and more than a thousand Indians, 
at a little distance from the shore. Being now nearly oppo- 
site to them, I ordered my men to pull directly over, as I 
was willing to convince the Indians by such a step, that I 
placed some confidence in them. 

As soon as I had reached the land, two of the chiefs pre- 
sented their hands to me, and led me, amidst the astonished 
multitude, who had most of them never seen a white man 
before, to a tent. Into this we entered, and according to the 
custom that universally prevails among every Indian nation, 

f 69 ] 

began to smoke the pipe of Peace. We had not sat long 
before the crowd became so great, both around, and upon 
the tent, that we were in danger of being crushed by its fall. 
On this we returned to the plain, where, having gratified the 
curiosity of the common people, their wonder abated, and 
ever after they treated me with great respect. 

From the chiefs I met with the most friendly and hospi- 
table reception ; which induced me, as the season was so far 
advanced, to take up my residence among them during the 
winter. To render my stay as comfortable as possible, I 
first endeavoured to learn their language. This I soon did, 
so as to make myself perfectly intelligible, having before 
acquired some slight knowledge of the language of those 
Indians that live on the back of the settlements ; and in con- 
sequence met with every accommodation their manner of 
living would afford. Nor did I want for such amusements 
as tended to make so long a period pass cheerfully away. 
I frequently hunted with them ; and at other times beheld 
with pleasure their recreations and pastimes, which I shall 
describe hereafter. 

Sometimes I sat with the chiefs, and whilst we smoked 
the friendly pipe, entertained them, in return for the accounts 
they gave me of their wars and excursions, with a narrative 
of my own adventures and a description of all the battles 
fought between the English and the French in America, in 
many of which I had a personal share. They always paid 
great attention to my details, and asked many pertinent ques- 
tions relative to the European methods of making war. 

I held these conversations with them in a great measure 
to procure from them some information relative to the chief 
point I had constantly in view, that of gaining a knowledge 
of the situation and produce, both of their own country, and 
those that lay to the westward of them. Nor was I disap- 
pointed in my designs ; for I procured from them much 
useful intelligence. They likewise drew for me plans of all 

t TO ] 

the countries with which they were acquainted ; but as I 
entertained no great opinion of their geographical knowledge, 
I placed not much dependence on them, and therefore think 
it unnecessary to give them to the public. Such as 1 after- 
wards found confirmed, by other accounts, or by my own 
observations, make a part of the map prefixed to this work. 
They draw with a piece of burnt coal, taken from the hearth, 
upon the inside bark of the birch tree ; which is as smooth 
as paper, and answers the same purpose, notwithstanding it 
is of a yellow cast. Their sketches are made in a rude 
manner, but they seem to give as just an idea of a country, 
although the plan is not so exact, as more experienced 
draughtsmen could do. 

I left the habitations of these hospitable Indians the latter 
end of April 1767 ; but did not part from them for several 
days, as I was accompanied on my journey by near three 
hundred of them, among whom were many chiefs, to the 
mouth of the River St. Pierre. At this season, these bands 
annually go to the Great Cave, before mentioned, to hold a 
grand council with all the other bands ; wherein they settle 
their operations for the ensuing year. At the same time 
they carry with them their dead for interment bound up in 
buffaloes skins. Besides those that accompanied me, others 
were gone before, and the rest were to follow. 

Never did I travel with so cheerful and happy a company. 
But their mirth met with a sudden and temporary allay from 
a violent storm that overtook us one day on our passage. 
We had just landed, and were preparing to* set up our tents 
for the night, when a heavy cloud overspread the heavens, 
and the most dreadful thunder, lightning, and rain issued 
from it, that ever I beheld. 

The Indians were greatly terrified, and ran to such shelter 
as they could find ; for only a few tents were as yet erected. 
Apprehensive of the danger that might ensue from standing 
near any thing which could serve for a conductor, as the 

t 71 ] 

cloud appeared to contain such an uncommon quantity of 
the electrical fluid, I took my stand as far as possible from 
any covering; chusing rather to be exposed to the peltings 
of the storm than to receive a fatal stroke. At this the In- 
dians were greatly surprized, and drew conclusions from it 
not unfavourable to the opinion they already entertained of 
my resolution. Yet I acknowledge that I was never more 
affected in my life ; for nothing scarcely could exceed the 
terrific scene. The peals of thunder were so loud that 
they shook the earth ; and the lightning flashed along the 
ground in streams of sulphur ; so that the Indian chiefs 
themselves, although their courage in war is usually in- 
vincible, could not help trembling at the horrid combustion. 
As soon as the storm was over, they flocked around me, 
and informed me, that it was a proof of the anger of the 
evil spirits, whom they were apprehensive that they had 
highly offended. 

When we arrived at the Great Cave, and the Indians had 
deposited the remains of their deceased friends in the burial- 
place that stands adjacent to it, they held their great coun- 
cil, into which I was admitted, and at the same time had 
the honour to be installed or adopted a chief of their bands. 
On this occasion 1 made the following speech, which I in- 
sert to give my Readers a specimen of the language and 
manner in which it is necessary to address the Indians, so 
as to engage their attention, and to render the speaker's 
expressions consonant to their ideas. It was delivered on 
the first day of May 1767. 

" My brothers, chiefs of the numerous and powerful Nau- 
" dowessies ! I rejoice that through my long abode with you, 
" I can now speak to you (though after an imperfect man- 
ner) in your own tongue, like one of your own children. 
" I rejoice also that I have had an opportunity so frequently 
" to inform you of the glory and power of the Great King 
" that reigns over the English and other nations ; who is de- 

[ 72 ] 

" scended from a very ancient race of sovereigns, as old as 
" the earth and waters ; whose feet stand on two great isl- 
" ands, larger than any you have ever seen, amidst the great- 
est waters in the world; whose head reaches to the sun, 
" and whose arms encircle the whole earth. The number 
" of whose warriors are equal to the trees in the vallies, the 
" stalks of rice in yonder marshes, or the blades of grass on 
" your great plains. Who has hundreds of canoes of his 
" own, of such amazing bigness, that all the waters in your 
"country would not suffice for one of them to swim in; 
" each of which have guns, not small like mine which you 
" see before you, but of such magnitude, that a hundred of 
" your stoutest young men would with difficulty be able to 
" carry one. And these are equally surprizing in their oper- 
" ation against the great king's enemies when engaged in 
" battle ; the terror they carry with them your language 
" wants words to express. You may remember the other day 
" when we were encamping at Wadawpawmenesoter, the 
" black clouds, the wind, the fire, the stupendous noise, the 
" horrible cracks, and the trembling of the earth which then 
" alarmed you, and gave you reason to think your gods were 
" angry with you ; not unlike these are the warlike imple- 
" ments of the English when they are fighting the battles of 
" their great King. 

" Several of the chiefs of your bands have often told me, 
" in times past, when I dwelt with you in your tents, that 
" they much wished to be counted among the children and 
" allies of the great King my master. You may remember 
" how often you have desired me, when I return again to my 
" own country, to acquaint the great King of your good dis- 
" position towards him and his subjects, and that you wished 
" for traders from the English to come among you. Being 
" now about to take my leave of you, and to return to my 
" own country, a long way towards the rising sun, I again 
" ask you to tell me whether you continue of the same mind 

[ 73 ] 

*' as when I spoke to you in council last winter ; and as 
" there are now several of your chiefs here, who came from 
" the great plains towards the setting of the sun, whom I have 
"never spoke with in council before, I ask you to let me 
" know if you are all willing to acknowledge yourselves the 
" children of my great master the King of the English and 
" other nations, as I shall take the first opportunity to ac- 
" quaint him of your desires and good intentions. I charge 
" you not to give heed to bad reports ; for there are wicked 
" birds flying about among the neighbouring nations, who 
" may whisper evil things in your ears against the English, 
" contrary to what I have told you ; you must not believe 
" them, for I have told you the truth. 

" And as for the chiefs that are about to go to Michilli- 
"mackinac, I shall take care to make for them and their 
" suite, a straight road, smooth waters, and a clear sky ; that 
" they may go there, and smoke the pipe of Peace, and rest 
11 secure on a beaver blanket, under the shade of the great 
" tree of peace. Farewell !" 

To this speech I received the following answer, from the 
mouth of the principal chief: 

" Good brother ! I am now about to speak to you with 
" the mouths of these my brothers, chiefs of the eight bands 
" of the powerful nation of the Naudowessies. We believe 
" and are well satisfied in the truth of every thing you have 
" told us about your great nation, and the Great King our 
" greatest father; for whom we spread this beaver blanket, 
" that his fatherly protection may ever rest easy and safe 
" amongst us his children : your colours and your arms 
" agree with the accounts you have given us about your great 
" nation. We desire that when you return, you will acquaint 
" the Great King how much the Naudowessies wish to be 
"counted among his good children. You may believe us 
" when we tell you that we will not open our ears to any one 


t 74 ] 

*■' who may speak evil of our Great Father the King of the 
" English and other nations. 

" We thank you for what you have done for us in making 
"peace between the Naudowessies and the Chipeways, 
"and hope when you return to us again, that you will com- 
" plete this good work ; and quite dispelling the clouds that 
" intervene, open the blue sky of peace, and cause the bloody 
" hatchet to be deep buried under the roots of the great tree 
" of peace. 

" We wish you to remember to represent to our Great 
*' Father, how much we desire that traders may be sent to 
" abide among us, with such things as we need, that the 
" hearts of our young men, our wives, and children may be 
" made glad. And may peace subsist between us, so long 
" as the sun, the moon, the earth, and the waters shall en- 
"dure. Farewell." 

T thought it necessary to caution the Indians against giv- 
ing heed to any bad reports that may reach them from the 
neighbouring nations to the disadvantage of the English, as 
I had heard, at different places through which I passed, that 
emissaries were still employed by the French to detach those 
who were friendly to the English from their interest. And 
I saw, myself, several belts of Wampum that had been de- 
livered for this purpose to some of the tribes I was among. 
On the delivery of each of these a Talk was held, wherein 
the Indians were told that the English, who were but a petty 
people, had stolen that country from their Great Father the 
king of France whilst he was asleep ; but that he would soon 
awake, and take them again under his protection. These I 
found were sent from Canada by persons who appeared to 
be well affected towards the government under which they 

Whilst I tarried at the mouth of the River St. Pierre with 
these friendly Indians, I endeavoured to gain intelligence 
whether any goods had been sent towards the Falls of St. 

[ 75 ] 

Anthony for my use, agreeable to the promise I had received 
from the governor when I left Michillimackinac. Bat find- 
ing from some Indians, who passed by in their return from 
those parts, that this agreement had not been fulfilled, I was 
obliged to give up all thoughts of proceeding farther to the 
north-west by this route, according to my original plan. I 
therefore returned to La Prairie le Chien, where I procured 
as many goods from the traders I left there the preceding 
year as they could spare. 

As these however were not sufficient to enable me to renew 
my first design, I determined to endeavour to make my way 
across the country of the Chipeways to Lake Superior; in 
hopes of meeting at the Grand Portage on the north side of 
it, the traders that annually go from Michillimackinac to the 
north-west ; of whom I doubted not but that I should be able 
to procure goods enough to answer my purpose, and also to 
penetrate through those more northern parts to the Straights 
of Annian. 

And I the more readily returned to La Prairie le Chien, 
as I could by that means the better fulfil the engagement I 
had made to the party of Naudowessies mentioned at the 
conclusion of my speech. During my abode with this peo- 
ple, wishing to secure them entirely in the interest of the 
English, I had advised some of the chiefs to go to Michilli- 
mackinac, where they would have an opportunity of trading, 
and of hearing the accounts that I had entertained them with 
of my countrymen confirmed. At the same time I had fur- 
nished them with a recommendation to the governor, and 
given them every direction necessary for their voyage. 

In consequence of this one of the principal chiefs, and 
twenty-five of an inferior rank, agreed to go the ensuing sum- 
mer. This they took an opportunity of doing when they 
came with the rest of their band to attend the grand council 
at the mouth of the River St. Pierre. Being obliged, on ac- 
count of the disappointment I had just been informed of, to 

[ 76 ] 

return so far down the Mississippi, I could from thence the 
more easily set them on their journey. 

As the intermediate parts of this river are much frequented 
by the Chipeways, with whom the Naudowessies are contin- 
ually at war, they thought it more prudent, being but a small 
party, to take the advantage of the night, than to travel with 
me by day ; accordingly no sooner was the grand council 
broke up, than I took a friendly leave of these people, from 
whom I had received innumerable civilities, and pursued 
once more my voyage. 

I reached the eastern side of Lake Pepin the same night, 
where I went ashore and encamped as usual. The next 
morning, when I had proceeded some miles farther, I per- 
ceived at a distance before me a smoke, which denoted that 
some Indians were near ; and in a short time discovered ten 
or twelve tents not far from the bank of the river. As I was 
apprehensive that this was a party of the Rovers I had be- 
fore met with, I knew not what course to pursue. My at- 
tendants persuaded me to endeavour to pass by them on the 
opposite side of the river ; but as I had hitherto found that 
the best way to ensure a friendly reception from the Indians 
is to meet them boldly, and without shewing any tokens of 
fear, I would by no means consent to their proposal. Instead 
of this I crossed directly over, and landed in the midst of 
them, for by this time the greatest part of them were stand- 
ing on the shore. 

The first I accosted were Chipeways inhabiting near the 
Ottowaw lakes ; who received me with great cordiality, and 
shook me by the hand in token of friendship. Ac some dis 
tance behind these stood a chief remarkably tall and well 
made, but of so stern an aspect that the most undaunted person 
could not behold him without some degree of terror. He 
seemed to have passed the meridian of life, and by the mode 
in which he was painted and tatowed, I discovered that he 
was of high rank. However, I approached him in a cour- 

[ 77 ] 

teous manner, and expected to have met with the same re- 
ception I had done from the others ; but to my great sur- 
prise he withheld his hand, and looking fiercely at me, said 
in the Chipeway tongue, " Cawin nishishin saganosh," that 
is, "The English are no good." As he had his tomahawk 
in his hand, I expected that this laconick sentence would 
have been followed by a blow; to prevent which I drew a 
pistol from my belt, and, holding it in a careless position, 
passed close by him, to let him see I was not afraid of him. 

I learned soon after from the other Indians, that this was 
a chief, called by the French the Grand Sautor, or the great 
Chipeway Chief, for they denominate the Chipeways Sau- 
tors. They likewise told me that he had been always a 
steady friend to that people, and when they delivered up 
Michillimackinac to the English on their evacuation of Can- 
ada, the Grand Sautor had sworn that he would ever remain 
the avowed enemy of its new possessors, as the territories 
on which the fort is built belonged to him. 

Finding him thus disposed, I took care to be constantly 
on my guard whilst I staid ; but that he might not suppose 
I was driven away by his frowns, I took up my abode there 
for the night. I pitched my tent at some distance from the 
Indians, and had no sooner laid myself down to rest, than I 
was awakened by my French servant. Having been alarmed 
by the sound of Indian music, he had run to the outside of 
the tent, where he beheld a party of the young savages dan- 
cing towards us in an extraordinary manner, each carrying in 
his hand a torch fixed on the top of a long pole. But I shall 
defer any further account of this uncommon entertainment, 
which at once surprized and alarmed me, till I treat of the 
Indian dances. 

The next morning I continued my voyage, and before 
night reached La Prairie le Chien ; at which place the party 
of Naudowessies soon overtook me. Not long after the 
Grand Sautor also arrived, and before the Naudowessies left 

[ 78 ] 

that place to continue their journey to Michillimackinac, he 
found means, in conjunction with some French traders from 
Louisiana, to draw from me about ten of the Naudowessie 
chiefs, whom he prevailed upon to go towards those parts. 

The remainder proceeded, according to my directions, to 
the English fort ; from whence I afterwards learned that they 
returned to their own country without any unfortunate acci- 
dent befalling them, and greatly pleased with the reception 
they had met with. Whilst not more than half of those who 
went to the southward, through the difference of that south- 
ern climate from their own, lived to reach their abode. And 
since I came to England I have been informed, that the 
Grand Sautor, having rendered himself more and more dis- 
gustful to the English by his inveterate enmity towards them, 
was at length stabbed in his tent, as he encamped near Mich- 
illimackinac, by a trader to whom I had related the forego- 
ing story. 

I should have remarked, that whatever Indians happen to 
meet at La Prairie le Chien, the great mart to which all who 
inhabit the adjacent countries resort, though the nations to 
which they belong are at war with each other, yet they are 
obliged to restrain their enmity, and to forbear all hostile 
acts during their stay there. This regulation has been long 
established among them for their mutual convenience, as 
without it no trade could be carried on. The same rule is 
observed also at the Red Mountain (afterwards described) 
from whence they get the stone of which they make their 
pipes ; these being indispensable to the accommodation of 
every neighbouring tribe, a similar restriction becomes need- 
ful, and is of public utility. 

The River St. Pierre, which runs through the territories 
of the Naudowessies, flows through a most delightful coun- 
try, abounding with all the necessaries of life, that grow 
spontaneously ; and with a little cultivation it might be made 
to produce even the luxuries of life. Wild rice grows here 

t 79 ] 

in great abundance ; and every part is filled with trees bend- 
ing under their loads of fruit, such as plums, grapes, and ap- 
ples ; the meadows are covered with hops, and many sorts 
of vegetables ; whilst the ground is stored with useful roots, 
with angelica, spikenard, and ground-nuts as large as hens 
eggs. At a little distance from the sides of the river are 
eminences, from which you have views that cannot be ex- 
ceeded even by the most beautiful of those I have already 
described ; amidst these are delightful groves, and such ama- 
zing quantities of maples, that they would produce sugar 
sufficient for any number of inhabitants. 

A little way from the mouth of this river, on the north side 
of it, stands a hill, one part of which, that towards the Mis- 
sissippi, is composed entirely of white stone, of the same 
soft nature as that I have before described ; for such, indeed, 
is all the stone in this country. But what appears remarka- 
ble is, that the colour of it is as white as the driven snow. 
The outward part of it was crumbled by the wind and weath- 
er into heaps of sand, of which a beautiful composition might 
be made ; or, I am of opinion that, when properly treated, 
the stone itself would grow harder by time, and have a very 
noble effect in architecture. 

Near that branch which is termed the Marble River, is a 
mountain, from whence the Indians get a sort of red stone, 
out of which they hew the bowls of their pipes. In some 
of these parts is found a black hard clay, or rather stone, of 
which the Naudowessies make their family utensils. This 
country likewise abounds with a milk-white clay, of which 
China ware might be made equal in goodness to the Asiatic ; 
and also with a blue clay that serves the Indians for paint; 
with this last they contrive, by mixing it with the red stone 
powdered, to paint themselves of different colours. Those 
that can get the blue clay here mentioned, paint themselves 
very much with it ; particularly when they are about to begin 
their sports and pastimes. It is also esteemed by them a 

L 80 ] 

mark of peace, as it has a resemblance of a blue sky, which 
with them is a symbol of it, and made use of in their speech- 
es as a figurative expression to denote peace. When they 
wish to shew that their inclinations are pacific towards other 
tribes, they greatly ornament both themselves and their belts 
with it. 

Having concluded my business at La Prairie le Chien, I 
proceeded once more up the Mississippi as far as the place 
where the Chipeway River enters it a little below Lake 
Pepin. Here, having engaged an Indian pilot, I directed 
him to steer towards the Ottowaw Lakes which lie near the 
head of this river. This he did, and I arrived at them the 
beginning of July. 

The Chipeway River, at its junction with the Mississippi, 
is about eighty yards wide, but is much wider as you advance 
into it. Near thirty miles up it separates into two branches, 
and I took my course through that which lies to the eastward. 

The country adjoining to the river, for about sixty miles, 
is very level, and on its banks lie fine meadows, where 
larger droves of buffaloes and elks were feeding, than I had 
observed in any other part of my travels. The track be- 
tween the two branches of this river is termed the Road of 
War between the Chipeway and Naudowessie Indians. 

The country to the Falls marked in the plan at the ex- 
tent of the traders travels, is almost without any timber, and 
above that very uneven and rugged, and closely wooded 
with pines, beech, maple, and birch. Here a most remark- 
able and astonishing sight presented itself to my view. In 
a wood, on the east of the river, which was about three 
quarters of a mile in length, and in depth farther than my 
eye could reach, I observed that every tree, many of which 
were more than six feet in circumference, was lying flat on 
the ground torn up by the roots. This appeared to have 
been done by some extraordinary hurricane that came from 
the west some years ago, but how many I could not learn, 

[ 81 ] 

as I found no inhabitants near it, of whom I could gain in- 
formation. The country on the west side of the river, from 
being less woody, had escaped in a great measure this hav- 
ock, as only a few trees were blown down. 

Near the heads of this river is a town of the Chipeways, 
from whence it takes its name. It is situated on each side 
of the river (which at this place is of no considerable breadth) 
and lies adjacent to the banks of a small lake. This town 
contains about forty houses, and can send out upwards of 
one hundred warriors, many of whom were fine stout young 
men. The houses of it are built after the Indian manner, 
and have neat plantations behind them ; but the inhabitants, 
in general, seemed to be the nastiest people I had ever been 
among. I observed that the women and children indulged 
themselves in a custom, which though common, in some 
degree, throughout every Indian nation, appears to be, ac- 
cording to our ideas, of the most nauseous and indelicate 
nature ; that of searching each other's head, and eating the 
prey caught therein. 

In July I left this town, and having crossed a number of 
small lakes and carrying places that intervened, came to a 
head branch of the river St. Croix. This branch I descend- 
ed to a fork, and then ascended another to its source. On 
both these rivers I discovered several mines of virgin cop- 
per, which was as pure as that found in any other country. 

Here I came to a small brook, which my guide thought 
might be joined at some distance by streams that would at 
length render it navigable. The water at first was so scanty, 
that my canoe would by no means swim in it ; but having 
stopped up several old beaver dams which had been broken 
down by the hunters, I was enabled to proceed for some 
miles, till by the conjunction of a few brooks, these aids be- 
came no longer necessary. In a short time the water in- 
creased to a most rapid river, which we descended till it 
entered into Lake Superior. This river I named after a 


[ 82 ] 

gentleman that desired to accompany me from the town of 
the Ottagaumies to the Carrying Place on Lake Superior, 
Goddard's River. 

To the west of this is another small river, which also 
empties itself into the Lake. This I termed Strawberry 
River, from the great number of strawberries of a good size 
and fine flavour that grew on its banks. 

The country from the Ottawaw Lakes to Lake Superior 
is in general very uneven and thickly covered with woods. 
The soil in some places tolerably good, in others but indif- 
ferent. In the heads of the St. Croix and the Chipeway 
Rivers are exceeding fine sturgeon. Ail the wilderness 
between the Mississippi and Lake Superior is called by the 
Indians the Moschettoe country, and I thought it most justly 
named ; for, it being then their season, I never saw or felt 
so many of those insects in my life. 

The latter end of July I arrived, after having coasted 
through West Bay, at the Grand Portage, which lies on the 
north-west borders of Lake Superior. Here those who go 
on the north-west trade, to the Lakes De Pluye, Dubois, &c. 
carry over their canoes and baggage about nine miles, till 
they come to a number of small lakes, the waters of some 
of which descend into Lake Superior, and others into the 
River Bourbon. Lake Superior from West Bay to this 
place is bounded by rocks, except towards the south-west 
part of the Bay where I first entered it, there it was tolera- 
bly level. 

At the Grand Portage is a small bay, before the entrance 
of which lies an island that intercepts the dreary and un- 
interrupted view over the Lake which otherwise would have 
presented itself, and makes the bay serene and pleasant. 
Here I met a large party of the Killistinoe and Assinipoil 
Indians, with their respective kings and their families. They 
were come to this place in order to meet the traders from 
Michillimackinac, who make this their road to the north- 

t 83 ] 

west. From them I received the following account of the 
Lakes that lie to the north-west of Lake Superior. 

Lake Bourbon, the most northern of those yet discovered, 
received its name from some French traders who accompa- 
nied a party of Indians to Hudson's Bay some years ago ; 
and was thus denominated by them in honour of the royal 
family of France. It is composed of the waters of the 
Bourbon River, which, as I have before observed, rises a 
great way to the southward, not far from the northern heads 
of the Mississippi. 

This Lake is about eighty miles in length, north and south, 
and is nearly circular. It has no very large islands on it. 
The land on the eastern side is very good ; and to the south- 
west there are some mountains : in many other parts there 
are barren plains, bogs, and morasses. Its latitude is be- 
tween fifty-two and fifty-four degrees north, and it lies nearly 
south-west from Hudson's Bay. As through its northern 
situation the weather there is extremely cold, only a few 
animals are to be found in the country that borders on it. 
They gave me but an indifferent account either of the beasts, 
birds, or fishes. There are indeed some buffaloes of a small 
size, which are fat and good about the latter end of summer, 
with a few moose and carribboo deer ; however this defi- 
ciency is made up by the furs of every sort that are to be 
met with in great plenty around the Lake. The timber 
growing here is chiefly fir, cedar, spruce, and some maple. 

Lake Winnepeek, or as the French write it Lac Ouinipique, 
which lies nearest to the foregoing, is composed of the same 
waters. It is in length about two hundred miles north and 
south ; its breadth has never been properly ascertained, but 
is supposed to be about one hundred miles in its widest part. 
This Lake is very full of islands ; these are, however, of no 
great magnitude. Many considerable rivers empty them- 
selves into it, which, as yet, are not distinguished by any 
names. The waters are stored with fish, such as trout and 

[ 84 ] 

sturgeon, and also with others of a smaller kind peculiar to 
these Lakes. 

The land on the south-west part of it is very good, 
especially about the entrance of a large branch of the 
River Bourbon which flows from the south-west. On this 
River there is a factory that was built by the French called 
Fort LaReine, to which the traders from Michillimackinac 
resort to trade with the Assinipoils and Killistinoes. To 
this place the Mahahs, who inhabit a country two hundred 
and fifty miles south-west, come also to trade with them ; 
and bring great quantities of Indian corn to exchange for 
knives, tomahawks, and other articles. These people are 
supposed to dwell on some of the branches of the River of 
the West. 

Lake Winnepeek has on the north-east some mountains, 
and on the east many barren plains. The maple or sugar 
tree grows here in great plenty, and there is likewise 
gathered an amazing quantity of rice, which proves that 
grain will flourish in these northern climates as well as in 
warmer. Buffaloes, carribboo, and moose deer, are numer- 
ous in these parts. The buffaloes of this country differ 
from those that are found more to the south only in size ; 
the former being much smaller : just as the black cattle of 
the northern parts of Great Britain differ from English 

On the waters that fall into this Lake, the neighbouring 
nations take great numbers of excellent furs. Some of 
these they carry to the factories and settlements belonging 
to the Hudson's Bay Company, situated above the entrance 
of the Bourbon River : but this they do with reluctance on 
several accounts ; for some of the Assinipoils and Killisti- 
noes, who usually traded with the Company's servants, told 
me, that if they could be sure of a constant supply of goods 
from Michillimackinac, they would not trade any where 
else. They showed me some cloth and other articles that 

[ 85 ] 

they had purchased at Hudson's Bay, with which they 
were much dissatisfied, thinking they had been greatly im- 
posed upon in the barter. 

Allowing that their accounts were true, I could not help 
joining in their opinion. But this dissatisfaction might 
probably proceed, in a great measure, from the intrigues 
of the Canadian traders : for whilst the French were in 
possession of Michillimackinac, having acquired a thorough 
knowledge of the trade of the north-west countries, they 
were employed on that account, after the reduction of 
Canada, by the English traders there, in the establishment 
of this trade with which they were themselves quite un- 
acquainted. One of the methods they took to withdraw 
these Indians from their attachment to the Hudson's Bay 
Company, and to engage their good opinion in behalf of 
their new employers, was by depreciating on all occasions 
the Company's goods, and magnifying the advantages that 
would arise to them from trafficking entirely with the 
Canadian traders. In this they too well succeeded, and 
from this, doubtless, did the dissatisfaction the Assinipoils 
and Killistinoes expressed to me, partly proceed. But 
another reason augmented it ; and this was the length of 
their journey to the Hudson's Bay factories, which, they 
informed me, took them up three months during the sum- 
mer heats to go and return, and from the smallness of their 
canoes they could not carry more than a third of the bea- 
vers they killed. So that it is not to be wondered at, that 
these Indians should wish to have traders come to reside 
among them. It is true that the parts they inhabit are 
within the limits of the Hudson's Bay territories, but the 
Company must be under the necessity of winking at an 
encroachment of this kind, as the Indians would without 
doubt protect the traders when among them. Besides, the 
passports granted to the traders that go from Michillimack- 
inac give them liberty to trade to the north-west about 

[ 86 ] 

Lake Superior ; by which is meant Fort La Reine, Lake 
Winnepeek, or any other parts of the waters of the Bour- 
bon River, where the Couriers de Bois, or Traders, may 
make it most convenient to reside. 

Lac du Bois, as it is commonly termed by the French in 
their maps, or in English the Lake of the Wood, is so called 
from the multiplicity of wood growing on its banks ; such 
as oaks, pines, firs, spruce, &c. This Lake lies still higher 
up a branch of the River Bourbon, and nearly east from the 
south end of Lake Winnepeek. It is of great depth in 
some places. Its length from east to west about seventy 
miles, and its greatest breadth about forty miles. It has 
but few islands, and these of no great magnitude. The 
fishes, fowls, and quadrupeds that are found near it, vary 
but little from those of the other two lakes. A few of the 
Killistinoe Indians sometimes encamp on the borders of it 
to fish and hunt. 

This Lake lies in the communication between Lake Su- 
perior, and the Lakes Winnepeek and Bourbon. Its waters 
are not esteemed quite so pure as those of the other lakes, 
it having, in many places, a muddy bottom. 

Lac La Pluye, so called by the French, in English the 
Rainy Lake, is supposed to have acquired this name from 
the first travellers, that passed over it, meeting with an un- 
common deal of rain ; or, as some have affirmed, from a mist 
like rain occasioned by a perpendicular water-fall that emp- 
ties itself into a river which lies to the south-west. 

This Lake appears to be divided by an isthmus, near the 
middle, into two parts : the west part is called the Great 
Rainy Lake, the east, the Little Rainy Lake, as being the 
least division. It lies a few miles farther to the eastward, 
on the same branch of the Bourbon, than the last-mentioned 
Lake. It is in general very shallow in its depth. The 
broadest part of it is not more than twenty miles, its 
length, including both, about three hundred miles. In the 

[ 87 ] 

west part the water is very clear and good ; and some ex- 
cellent fish are taken in it. A great many fowl resort here 
at the fall of the year. Moose deer are to be found in great 
plenty, and likewise the carribboo ; whose skin for breeches 
or gloves exceeds by far any other to be met with in 
North- America. The land on the borders of this Lake is 
esteemed in some places very good, but rather too thickly 
covered with wood. Here reside a considerable band of 
the Chipeways. 

Eastward from this Lake lie several small ones, which 
extend in a string to the great carrying- place, and from 
thence into Lake Superior. Between these little Lakes are 
several carrying places, which renders the trade to the 
north-west difficult to accomplish, and exceedingly tedious, 
as it takes two years to make one voyage from Michilli- 
mackinac to these parts. 

Red Lake is a comparatively small lake at the head of a 
branch of the Bourbon River, which is called by some Red 
River. Its form is nearly round, and about sixty miles in 
circumference. On one side of it is a tolerable large island, 
close by which a small river enters. It bears almost south- 
east both from Lake Winnepeek and from Lake du Bois. 
The parts adjacent are very little known, or frequented, 
even by the savages themselves. 

Not far from this Lake, a little to the south-west, is 
another called White Bear Lake, which is nearly about the 
size of the last mentioned. The waters that compose this 
Lake are the most northern of any that supply the Mis- 
sissippi and may be called with propriety its most remote 
source. It is fed by two or three small rivers or rather 
large brooks. 

A few miles from it, to the south-east, are a great number 
of small lakes, none of which are more than ten miles in 
circumference, that are called the Thousand Lakes. In 
the adjacent country is reckoned the finest hunting for furs 

t 88 ] 

of any on this continent ; the Indians who hunt here seldom 
returning without having their canoes loaded as deep as 
they can swim. 

Having just before observed that this Lake is the utmost 
northern source of the Mississippi, I shall here further re- 
mark, that before this river enters the Gulph of Mexico, it 
has not run less, through all its meanderings, than three 
thousand miles; or, in a strait line from north to south,, 
about twenty degrees, which is nearly fourteen hundred 
English miles. 

These Indians- informed me, that to the north-west of 
Lake Winnepeek lies another, whose circumference vastly 
exceeded any they had given me an account of. They 
describe it as much larger than Lake Superior. But as it 
appears to be so far to the north-west, I should imagine 
that it was not a lake, but rather the Archipelago or broken 
waters that form the communication between Hudson's 
Bay and the northern parts of the Pacific Ocean. 

There are an infinite number of small lakes, on the more 
western parts of the western head-branches of the Mis- 
sissippi, as well as between these and Lake Winnepeek, 
but none of them are large enough to suppose either of 
them to be the lake or waters meant by the Indians. 

They likewise informed me, that some of the northern 
branches of the Messorie and the southern branches of the 
St. Pierre have a communication with each other, except 
for a mile ; over which they carry their canoes. And by 
what I could learn from them, this is the road they take 
when their war parties make their excursions upon the 
Pawnees and Pawnawnees, nations inhabiting some branch- 
es of the Messorie River. In the country belonging to 
these people it is said, that Mandrakes are frequently found, 
a species of root resembling human beings of both sexes ; 
and that these are more perfect than such as are discovered 
about the Nile in Nether-Ethiopia. 

[ 89 ] 

A little to the north-west of the heads of the Messorie 
and the St. Pierre, the Indians further told me, that there 
was a nation rather smaller and whiter than the neighbour- 
ing tribes, who cultivate the ground, and (as far as I could 
gather from their expressions) in some measure, the arts. 
To this account they added that some of the nations, who 
inhabit those parts that lie to the west of the Shining 
Mountains, have gold so plenty among them that they 
make their most common utensils of it. These mountains 
(which I shall describe more particularly hereafter) divide 
the waters that fall into the South Sea from those that run 
into the Atlantic. 

The people dwelling near them are supposed to be some 
of the different tribes that were tributary to the Mexican 
kings, and who fled from their native country to seek an 
asylum in these parts, about the time of the conquest of 
Mexico by the Spaniards, more than two centuries ago. 

As some confirmation of this supposition it is remarked, 
that they have chosen the most interior parts for their re- 
treat, being still prepossessed with a notion that the sea- 
coasts have been infested ever since with monsters vomit- 
ing fire, and hurling about thunder and lightning ; from 
whose bow 7 els issued men, who, with unseen instruments, 
or by the power of magick, killed the harmless Indians at 
an astonishing distance. From such as these, their fore- 
fathers (according to a tradition among them that still re- 
mains unimpaired) fled to the retired abodes they now 
inhabit. For as they found that the floating monsters 
which had thus terrified them could not approach the land, 
and that those who had descended from their sides did not 
care to make excursions to any considerable distance from 
them, they formed a resolution to betake themselves to 
some country, that lay far from the sea-coasts, where only 
they could be secure from such diabolical enemies. They 
accordingly set out with their families, and after a long 


[ 90 ] 

peregrination, settled themselves near these mountains, 
where they concluded they had found a place of perfect 

The Winnebagoes, dwelling on the Fox River (whom I 
have already treated of) are likewise supposed to be some 
strolling band from the Mexican countries. But they are 
able to give only an imperfect account of their original 
residence. They say they formerly came a great w r ay 
from the westward, and were driven by wars to take ref- 
uge among the Naudow T essies ; but as they are entirely 
ignorant of the arts, or of the value of gold, it is rather to 
be supposed, that they were driven from their ancient set- 
tlements by the above-mentioned emigrants, as they passed 
on towards their present habitation. 

* These suppositions, however, may want confirmation; 
for the smaller tribes of Indians are subject to such various 
alterations in their places of abode, from the wars they are 
continually engaged in, that it is almost impossible to ascer- 
tain, after half a century, the original situation of any of 

That range of mountains, of which the Shining Mount- 
ains are a part, begin at Mexico, and continuing north- 
ward on the back, or to the east of California, separate the 
waters of those numerous rivers that fall either into the 
Gulph of Mexico, or the Gulph of California. From thence 
continuing their course still northward, between the sources 
of the Mississippi and the rivers that run into the South 
Sea, they appear to end in about forty-seven or forty-eight 
degrees of north latitude ; where a number of rivers arise, 
and empty themselves either into the South Sea, into Hud- 
son's Bay, or into the waters that communicate between 
these two seas. 

Among these mountains, those that lie to the west of the 
River St. Pierre, are called the Shining Mountains, from 
an infinite number of chrystal stones, of an amazing size, 

[ 91 ] 

with which they are covered, and which, when the sun 
sjiines full upon them, sparkle so as to be seen at a very- 
great distance. 

This extraordinary range of mountains is calculated to 
be more than three thousand miles in length, without any 
very considerable intervals, which I believe surpasses any 
thing of the kind in the other quarters of the globe. Prob- 
ably in future ages they may be found to contain more 
riches in their bowels, than those of Indostan and Malabar, 
or that are produced on the Golden Coast of Guinea; nor 
will I except even the Peruvian Mines. To the west of 
these mountains, when explored by future Columbuses or 
Raleighs, may be found other lakes, rivers, and countries, 
full fraught with all the necessaries or luxuries of life ; and 
where future generations may find an asylum, whether 
driven from their country by the ravages of lawless ty- 
rants, or by religious persecutions, or reluctantly leaving it 
to remedy the inconveniences arising from a superabun- 
dant increase of inhabitants ; whether, I say, impelled by 
these, or allured by hopes of commercial advantages, there 
is little doubt but their expectations will be fully gratified 
in these rich and unexhausted climes. 

But to return to the Assinipoils and Killistinoes, whom 
I left at the Grand Portage, and from whom I received the 
foregoing account of the lakes that lie to the north-west of 
this place. 

The traders we expected being later this season than 
usual, and our numbers very considerable, for there were 
more than three hundred of us, the stock of provision we 
had brought with us was nearly exhausted, and we waited 
with impatience for their arrival. 

One day, whilst we were all expressing our wishes for 
this desirable event, and looking from an eminence in hopes 
of seeing them come over the lake, the chief priest belong- 
ing to the band of the Killistinoes told us, that he would 

t 92 ] 

endeavour to obtain a conference with the Great Spirit, 
and know from him when the traders would arrive. I paid 
little attention to this declaration, supposing that it would 
be productive of some juggling trick, just sufficiently cov- 
ered to deceive the ignorant Indians. But the king of that 
tribe telling me that this was chiefly undertaken by the 
priest to alleviate my anxiety, and at the same time to 
convince me how much interest he had with the Great 
Spirit, I thought it necessary to restrain my animadver- 
sions on his design. 

The following evening was fixed upon for this spiritual 
conference. When every thing had been properly pre- 
pared, the king came to me and led me to a capacious tent, 
the covering of which was drawn up, so as to render what 
was transacting within visible to those who stood without. 
We found the tent surrounded by a great number of the 
Indians, but we readily gained admission, and seated our- 
selves on skins laid on the ground for that purpose. 

In the centre I observed that there was a place of an 
oblong shape, which was composed of stakes stuck in the 
ground, with intervals between, so as to form a kind of 
chest or coffin, large enough to contain the body of a man. 
These were of a middle size, and placed at such a distance 
from each other, that whatever lay within them was readily 
to be discerned. The tent was perfectly illuminated by a 
great number of torches made of splinters cut from the 
pine or birch tree, which the Indians held in their hands. 

In a few minutes the priest entered ; when an amazing 
large elk's skin being spread on the ground, just at my feet, 
he laid himself down upon it, after having stript himself of 
every garment except that which he wore close about his 
middle. Being now prostrate on his back, he first laid hold 
of one side of the skin, and folded it over him, and then the 
other; leaving only his head uncovered. This was no 
sooner done, than two of the young men who stood by took 

[ 93 ] 

about forty yards of strong cord, made also of an elk's hide, 
and rolled it tight round his body, so that he was completely 
swathed within the skin. Being thus bound up like an 
Egyptian Mummy, one took him by the heels, and the 
other by the head, and lifted him over the pales into the 
inclosure. I could also now discern him as plain as I had 
hitherto done, and I took care not to turn my eyes a mo- 
ment from the object before me, that I might the more 
readily detect the artifice ; for such I doubted not but that 
it would turn out to be. 

The priest had not lain in this situation more than a few 
seconds, when he began to mutter. This he continued to 
do for some time, and then by degrees grew louder and 
louder, till at length he spoke articulately ; however what 
he uttered was in such a mixed jargon of the Chipeway, Ot- 
towaw, and Killistinoe languages, that I could understand 
but very little of it. Having continued in this tone for a 
considerable while, he at last exerted his voice to its utmost 
pitch, sometimes raving and sometimes praying, till he had 
worked himself into such an agitation, that he foamed at 
his mouth. 

After having remained near three quarters of an hour in 
the place, and continued his vociferation with unabated 
vigor, he seemed to be quite exhausted, and remained 
speechless. But in an instant he sprung upon his feet 
notwithstanding at the time he was put in, it appeared 
impossible for him to move either his legs or arms, and 
shaking ofT his covering, as quick as if the bands with 
which it had been bound were burned asunder, he began 
to address those who stood around in a firm and audible 
voice. " My Brothers," said he, " the Great Spirit has 
11 deigned to hold a Talk with his servant at my earnest 
" request. . He has not, indeed, told me when the persons 
" we expect will be here, but to-morrow, soon after the 
" sun has reached his highest point in the heavens, a canoe 

[ 94 ] 

" will arrive, and the people in that will inform us when the 
" traders will come." Having said this, he stepped out of 
the inelosure, and after he had put on his robes, dismissed 
the assembly, I own I was greatly astonished at what I 
had seen ; but as I observed that every eye in the company 
was fixed on me with a view to discover my sentiments, I 
carefully concealed every emotion. 

The next day the sun shone bright, and long before noon 
all the Indians were gathered together on the eminence that 
overlooked the lake. The old king came to me and asked 
me, whether I had so much confidence in what the priest 
had foretold, as to join his people on the hill, and wait for 
the completion of it ? I told him I was at a loss what 
opinion to form of the prediction, but that I would readily 
attend him. On this we walked together to the place where 
the others were assembled. Every eye was again fixed 
by turns on me and on the lake ; when just as the sun had 
reached his zenith, agreeable to what the priest had fore- 
told, a canoe came round a point of land about a league 
distant. The Indians no sooner beheld it, than they sent 
up an universal shout, and by their looks seemed to triumph 
in the interest their priest thus evidently had with the Great 

In less than an hour the canoe reached the shore, when 
I attended the king and chiefs to receive those who were 
on board. As soon as the men were landed, we walked 
all together to the king's tent, when according to their in- 
variable custom we began to smoke ; and this we did, not- 
withstanding our impatience to know the tidings they 
brought, without asking any questions ; for the Indians 
are the most deliberate people in the world. However, 
after some trivial conversation, the king inquired of them 
whether they had seen any thing of the traders ? the men 
replied, that they had parted from them a few days before, 
and that they proposed being here the second day from the 

[ 95 ] 

present. They accordingly arrived at that time greatly to 
our satisfaction, but more particularly so to that of the In- 
dians, who found by this event the importance both of their 
priest and of their nation, greatly augmented in the sight of 
a stranger. 

This story I acknowledge appears to carry with it marks 
of great credulity in the relator. But no one is less tinc- 
tured with that weakness than myself. The circumstances 
of it I own are of a very extraordinary nature ; however, 
as I can vouch for their being free from either exaggeration 
or misrepresentation, being myself a cool and dispassionate 
observer of them all, I thought it necessary to give them to 
the public. And this I do without wishing to mislead the 
judgment of my Readers, or to make any superstitious im- 
pressions on their minds, but leaving them to draw from it 
what conclusions they please. 

I have already observed that the Assinipoils, with a part 
of whom I met here, are a revolted band of the Naudo- 
wessies ; who on account of some real or imagined griev- 
ances, for the Indians in general are very tenacious of their 
liberty, had separated themselves from their countrymen, 
and sought for freedom at the expense of their ease. For 
the country they now inhabit about the borders of Lake 
Winnepeek, being much farther north, is not near so fertile 
or agreeable as that they have relinquished. They still re- 
tain the language and manners of their former associates. 

The Killistinoes, now the neighbours and allies of the 
Assinipoils, for they also dwell near the same Lake and on 
the waters of the River Bourbon, appear to have been 
originally a tribe of the Chipeways, as they speak their 
language, though in a different dialect. Their nation con- 
sists of about three or four hundred warriors, and they seem 
to be a hardy brave people. I have already given an ac- 
count of their country when I treated of Lake Winnepeek. 
As they reside within the limits of Hudson's Bay, they 

[ 96 ] 

generally trade at the factories which belong to that Com- 
pany, but, for the reasons mentioned before, they frequently 
come to the place where I happened to join them, in order 
to meet the traders from Michillimackinac. 

The anxiety I had felt on account of the traders delay, 
was not much alleviated by their arrival. I again found 
my expectations disappointed, for I was not able to procure 
the goods I wanted from any of them. I was therefore 
obliged to give over my designs, and return to the place 
from whence I first began my extensive circuit. I accord- 
ingly took leave of the old king of the Killistinoes, with the 
chiefs of both bands, and departed. This prince was up- 
wards of sixty years of age, tall and slightly made, but he 
carried himself very erect. He was of a courteous, affable 
disposition, and treated me, as did all the chiefs, with great 

I observed that this people still continued a custom, that 
appeared to have been universal before any of them became 
acquainted with the manners of the Europeans, that of com- 
plimenting strangers with the company of their wives ; and 
this is not only practised by the lower ranks, but by the 
chiefs themselves, who esteem it the greatest proof of 
courtesy they can give a stranger. 

The beginning of October, after having coasted round 
the north and east borders of Lake Superior, I arrived at 
Cadot's Fort, which adjoins to the Falls of St. Marie, and is 
situated near the south-west corner of it. 

Lake Superior, formerly termed the Upper Lake from 
its northern situation, is so called on account of its being 
superior in magnitude to any of the lakes on that vast con- 
tinent. It might justly be termed the Caspian of America, 
and is supposed to be the largest body of fresh water on the 
globe. Its circumference, according to the French charts, 
is about fifteen hundred miles ; but I believe, that if it was 

[ 97 ] 

coasted round, and the utmost extent of every bay taken, 
it would exceed sixteen hundred. 

After I first entered it from Goddard's River on the west 
Bay, I coasted near twelve hundred miles of the north and 
east shores of it, and observed that the greatest part of that 
extensive tract was bounded by rocks and uneven ground. 
The water in general appeared to lie on a bed of rocks. 
When it was calm, and the sun shone bright, I could sit in 
my canoe, where the depth was upwards of six fathoms, 
and plainly see huge piles of stone at the bottom, of dif- 
ferent shapes, some of which appeared as if they were 
hewn. The water at this time was as pure and transpa- 
rent as air ; and my canoe seemed as if it hung suspended 
in that element. It was impossible to look attentively 
through this limpid medium at the rocks below, without 
finding, before many minutes were elapsed, your head 
swim, and your eyes no longer able to behold the dazzling 

I discovered also by accident another extraordinary prop- 
erty in the waters of this Lake. Though it was in the 
month of July that I passed over it, and the surface of the 
water, from the heat of the superambient air, impregnated 
with no small degree of warmth, yet on letting down a cup 
to the depth of about a fathom, the water drawn from thence 
was so excessively cold, that it had the same effect when 
received into the mouth as ice. 

The situation of this Lake is variously laid down ; but 
from the most exact observations I could make, it lies 
between forty-six and fifty degrees of north latitude, and 
between eighty-four and ninety-three degrees of west longi- 
tude from the meridian of London. 

There are many islands in this Lake, two of which are 
very large ; and if the land of them is proper for cultivation, 
there appears to be sufficient to form on each a consider- 
able province ; especially on Isle Royal, which cannot be 


[ w ] 

less than an hundred miles long, and in many places forty 
broad. But there is no way at present of ascertaining the 
exact length or breadth of either. Even the French, who 
always kept a small schooner on this lake whilst they were 
in possession of Canada, by which they could have made 
this discovery, have only acquired a slight knowledge of the 
external parts of these islands ; at least they have never 
published any account of the internal parts of them, that I 
could get intelligence of. 

Nor was I able to discover from any of the conversa- 
tions which I held with the neighbouring Indians, that they 
had ever made any settlements on them, or even landed 
there in their hunting excursions. From what I could 
gather by their discourse, they suppose them to have been, 
from their first information, the residence of the Great 
Spirit; and relate many ridiculous stories of enchantment 
and magical tricks that had been experienced by such as 
were obliged through stress of weather to take shelter on 

One of the Chipeway chiefs told me, that some of their 
people being once driven on the island of Mauropas, which 
lies towards the north-east part of the Lake, found on it 
large quantities of a heavy shining yellow sand, that from 
their description must have been gold dust. Being struck 
with the beautiful appearance of it, in the morning, when 
they re-entered their canoe, they attempted to bring some 
away ; but a spirit of an amazing size, according to their 
account sixty feet in height, strode into the water after 
them, and commanded them to deliver back what they had 
taken away. Terrified at his gigantic stature, and seeing 
that he had nearly overtaken them, they were glad to re- 
store their shining treasure ; on which they were suffered 
to depart without further molestation. Since this incident, 
no Indian that has ever heard of it, will venture near the 
same haunted coast. Besides this, they recounted to me 
many other stories of these islands, equally fabulous. 

[ 09 ] 

The country on the north and east parts of Lake Su- 
perior is very mountainous and barren. The weather being 
intensely cold in the winter, and the sun having but little 
power in the summer, vegetation there is very slow ; and 
consequently but little fruit is to be found on its shore. It 
however produces some few species in great abundance. 
Whirtleberries of an uncommon size, and fine flavour, grow 
on the mountains near the Lake in amazing quantities ; as 
do black currants and goosberries in the same luxuriant 

But the fruit which exceeds all the others, is a berry re- 
sembling a rasberry in its manner of growth, but of a 
lighter red, and much larger ; its taste is far more delicious 
than the fruit I have compared it to, notwithstanding that 
is so highly esteemed in Europe : it grows on a shrub of 
the nature of a vine, with leaves similar to those of the 
grape ; and I am persuaded that was it transplanted into a 
warmer and more kindly climate, it would prove a most 
rare and delicious fruit. 

Two very large rivers empty themselves into this Lake, 
on the north and north-east side ; one is called the Nipegon 
River, or, as the French pronounce it, the Allanipegon, 
which leads to a band of the Chipeways, inhabiting a lake 
of the same name, and the other is termed the Michipi- 
cooton River, the source of which is situated towards 
James's Bay, from whence there is but a short carriage to 
another river, which empties itself into that bay, at a fort 
belonging to the Company. It was by this passage that a 
party of French from Michillimackinac invaded the settle- 
ments of that Society in the reign of Queen Anne. Hav- 
ing taken and destroyed their forts, they brought the cannon 
which they found in them to the fortress from whence they 
had issued ; these were small brass pieces, and remain there 
to this present time ; having, through the usual revolutions 
of fortune, returned to the possession of their former 

[ ioo ] 

Not far from the Nipegon is a small river, that, just be- 
fore it enters the Lake, has a perpendicular fall from the 
top of a mountain, of more than six hundred feet. Being 
very narrow, it appears at a distance like a white garter 
suspended in the air. 

A few Indians inhabit round the eastern borders of this 
lake, supposed to be the remains of the Algonkins, who 
formerly possessed this country, but who have been nearly 
extirpated by the Iroquois of Canada. Lake Superior has 
near forty rivers that fall into it, some of which are of a 
considerable size. On the south side of it is a remarkable 
point or cape, of about sixty miles in length, called Point 
Chegomegan. It might as properly be termed a penin- 
sula, as it is nearly separated from the continent, on the 
east side, by a narrow bay that extends from east to west. 
Canoes have but a short portage across the isthmus, where- 
as if they coast it round, the voyage is more than a hun- 
dred miles. 

About that distance to the west of the cape just described, 
a considerable river falls into the Lake, the head of which 
is composed of a great assemblage of small streams. This 
river is remarkable for the abundance of virgin copper that 
is found on and near its banks. A metal which is met with 
also in several other places on this coast. I observed that 
many of the small islands, particularly those on the eastern 
shores, were covered with copper ore. They appeared 
like beds of copperas, of which many tuns lay in a small 

A company of adventurers from England began, soon 
after the conquest of Canada, to bring away some of this 
metal, but the distracted situation of affairs in America has 
obliged them to relinquish their scheme. It might in future 
times be made a very advantageous trade, as the metal, 
which costs nothing on the spot, and requires but little ex- 
pence to get it on board, could be conveyed in boats or 

L 101 ] 

canoes through the Falls of St. Marie to the Isle of St. Jo- 
seph, which lies at the bottom of the Straights near the 
entrance into Lake Huron ; from thence it might be put on 
board larger vessels, and in them transported across that 
Lake to the Falls of Niagara ; there being carried by land 
across the Portage, it might be conveyed without much 
more obstruction to Quebec. The cheapness and ease 
with which any quantity of it may be procured, will make 
up for the length of way that it is necessary to transport it 
before it reaches the sea-coast, and enable the proprietors 
to send it to foreign markets on as good terms as it can be 
exported from other countries. 

Lake Superior abounds with variety of fish, the princi- 
pal and best are the trout and sturgeon, which may be 
caught at almost any season in the greatest abundance. 
The trouts in general weigh about twelve pounds, but 
some are caught that exceed fifty. Besides these, a spe- 
cies of white fish is taken in great quantities here, that re- 
semble a shad in their shape, but they are rather thicker, 
and less bony ; they weigh about four pounds each, and 
are of a delicious taste. The best way of catching these 
fish is with a net ; but the trout might be taken at all times 
with the hook. There are likewise many sorts of smaller 
fish in great plenty here, and which may be taken with 
ease ; among these is a sort resembling a herring, that are 
generally made use of as a bait for the trout. Very small 
crabs, not larger than half a crown piece, are found both in 
this and Lake Michegan. 

This Lake is as much affected by storms as the Atlantic 
Ocean ; the waves run as high, and are equally as danger- 
ous to ships. It discharges its waters from the south-east 
corner, through the Straights of St. Marie. At the upper 
end of these Straights stands a fort that receives its name 
from them, commanded by Mons. Cadot, a French Cana- 
dian, who being proprietor of the soil, is still permitted to 

[ 102 ] 

keep possession of it. Near this fort is a very strong rapid, 
against which, though it is impossible for canoes to ascend, 
yet when conducted by careful pilots, they might pass down 
without danger. 

Though Lake Superior, as I have before observed, is 
supplied by near forty rivers, many of which are consider- 
able ones, yet it does not appear that one-tenth part of the 
waters which are conveyed into it by these rivers are car- 
ried off at this evacuation. How such a superabundance 
of water can be disposed of, as it must certainly be by 
some means or other, without which the circumference of 
the lake would be continually enlarging, I know not : that 
it does not empty itself, as the Mediterranean Sea is sup- 
posed to do, by an under current, which perpetually coun- 
teracts that near the surface, is certain ; for the stream 
which falls over the rock is not more than five or six feet 
in depth, and the whole of it passes on through the Straights 
into the adjacent lake ; nor is it probable that so great a 
quantity can be absorbed by exhalations ; consequently 
they must find a passage through some subterranean cavi- 
ties, deep, unfathomable, and never to be explored. 

The Falls of St. Marie do not descend perpendicularly 
as those of Niagara or St. Anthony do, but consist of a 
rapid which continues near three quarters of a mile, over 
which canoes well piloted might pass. 

At the bottom of these Falls, Nature has formed a most 
commodious station for catching the fish which are to 
be found there in immense quantities. Persons standing 
on the rocks that lie adjacent to it, may take with dipping 
nets, about the months of September and October, the 
white fish before mentioned ; at that season, together with 
several other species, they croud up to this spot in such 
amazing shoals, that enough may be taken to supply, when 
properly cured, thousands of inhabitants throughout the 

[ 103 ] 

The Straights of St. Marie are about forty miles long, 
bearing south-east, but varying much in their breadth. 
The current between the Falls and Lake Huron is not so 
rapid as might be expected, nor do they prevent the navi- 
gation of ships of burden as far up as the island of St. Jo- 

It has been observed by travellers that the entrance into 
Lake Superior, from these Straights, affords one of the 
most pleasing prospects in the world. The place in which 
this might be viewed to the greatest advantage, is just at 
the opening of the lake, from whence may be seen on the 
left, many beautiful little islands that extend a considerable 
way before you ; and on the right, an agreeable succession 
of small points of land, that project a little way into the 
water, and contribute, with the islands, to render this de- 
lightful bason (as it might be termed) calm and secure from 
the ravages of those tempestuous winds by which the ad- 
joining lake is frequently troubled. 

Lake Huron, into which you now enter from the Straights 
of St. Marie, is the next in magnitude to Lake Superior. 
It lies between forty-two and forty-six degrees of north 
latitude, and seventy-nine and eighty-five degrees of west 
longitude. Its shape is nearly triangular, and its circum- 
ference about one thousand miles. 

On the north side of it lies an island that is remarkable 
for being near an hundred miles in length, and no more 
than eight miles broad. This island is known by the name 
of Manataulin, which signifies a Place of Spirits, and is 
considered by the Indians as sacred as those already men- 
tioned in Lake Superior. 

About the middle of the south-west side of this lake is 
Saganaum Bay. The capes that separate this bay from 
the lake, are about eighteen miles distant from each other ; 
near the middle of the intermediate space stand two islands, 
which greatly tend to facilitate the passage of canoes and 

[ 104 ] 

small vessels, by affording them shelter, as without this 
security it would not be prudent to venture across so wide 
a sea ; and the coasting round the bay would make the 
voyage long and tedious. This bay is about eighty miles 
in length, and in general about eighteen or twenty miles 

Nearly half way between Saganaum Bay and the north- 
west corner of the Lake lies another, which is termed 
Thunder Bay. The Indians, who have frequented these 
parts from time immemorial, and every European traveller 
that has passed through it, have unanimously agreed to 
call it by this name, on account of the continual thunder 
they have always observed here. The bay is about nine 
miles broad, and the same in length, and whilst I was 
passing over it, which took me up near twenty- four hours, 
it thundered and lightened during the greatest part of the 
time to an excessive degree. 

There appeared to be no visible reason for this that I 
could discover, nor is the country in general subject to 
thunder ; the hills that stood around were not of a remark- 
able height, neither did the external parts of them seem to 
be covered with any sulphureous substance. But as this 
phenomenon must originate from some natural cause, I 
conjecture that the shores of the bay, or the adjacent 
mountains, are either impregnated with an uncommon 
quantity of sulphureous matter, or contain some metal or 
mineral apt to attract in a great degree the electrical par- 
ticles that are hourly borne over them by the passant clouds. 
But the solution of this, and those other philosophical re- 
marks which casually occur throughout these pages, I leave 
to the discussion of abler heads. 

The fish in Lake Huron are much the same as those in 
Lake Superior. Some of the land on its banks is very 
fertile, and proper for cultivation, but in other parts it is 
sandy and barren. The promontory that separates this 

[ 105 ] 

lake from Lake Michegan, is composed of a vast plain, 
upwards of one hundred miles long, but varying in its 
breadth, being from ten to fifteen miles broad. This track, 
as I have before observed, is divided into almost an equal 
portion between the Ottowaw and Chipeway Indians. At 
the north-east corner this lake has a communication with 
Lake Michegan, by the Straights of Michillimackinac al- 
readv described. 


I had like to have omitted a very extraordinary circum- 
stance relative to these Straights. According to observa- 
tions made by the French, whilst they were in possession of 
the fort, although there is no diurnal flood or ebb to be 
perceived in these waters, yet, from an exact attention to 
their state, a periodical alteration in them has been discov- 
ered. It was observed that they arose by gradual, but al- 
most imperceptible degrees till they had reached the height 
of about three feet. This was accomplished in seven years 
and a half; and in the same space they as gently decreased, 
till they had reached their former situation ; so that in fif- 
teen years they had completed this inexplicable revolution. 
At the time I was there the truth of these observations 
could not be confirmed by the English, as they had then 
been only a few years in possession of the fort ; but they 
all agreed that some alteration in the limits of the Straights 
was apparent. All these lakes are so affected by the winds, 
as sometimes to have the appearance of a tide, according 
as they happen to blow ; but this is only temporary and 

A great number of the Chipeway Indians live scattered 
around this Lake, particularly near Saganaum Bay. On 
its banks are found an amazing quantity of the sand cher- 
ries, and in the adjacent country nearly the same fruits as 
those that grow about the other lakes. 

From the Falls of St. Marie I leisurely proceeded back 
to Michillimackinac, and arrived there the beginning of 


[ 106 ] 

November 1767, having been fourteen months on this ex- 
tensive tour, travelled near four thousand miles, and visited 
twelve nations of Indians lying to the west and north of 
this place. The winter setting in soon after my arrival, 
I was obliged to tarry there till the June following, the 
navigation over Lake Huron for large vessels not being 
open, on account of the ice, till that time. Meeting here 
with sociable company, I passed these months very agree- 
ably, and without finding the hours tedious. 

One of my chief amusements was that of fishing for 
trouts. Though the Straights were covered with ice, we 
found means to make holes through it, and letting down 
strong lines of fifteen yards in length, to which were fixed 
three or four hooks baited with the small fish before de- 
scribed, we frequently caught two at a time of forty pounds 
weight each ; but the common size is from ten to twenty 
pounds. These are most delicious food. The method of 
preserving them during the three months the winter gen- 
erally lasts, is by hanging them up in the air ; and in one 
night they will be frozen so hard, that they will keep as 
well as if they were cured with salt. 

I have only pointed out in the plan of my travels the 
circuit I made from my leaving Michillimackinac till I ar- 
rived again at that fort. Those countries that lie nearer to 
the colonies have been so often and so minutely described, 
that any further account of them would be useless. I shall 
therefore only give my Readers in the remainder of my 
journal, as I at first proposed, a description of the other 
great lakes of Canada, many of which I have navigated 
over, and relate at the same time a few particular incidents 
that I trust will not be found inapplicable or unentertaining. 

In June 1768 I left Michillimackinac, and returned in 
the Gladwyn Schooner, a vessel of about eighty tons bur- 
then, over Lake Huron to Lake St. Claire, where we left 
the ship, and proceeded in boats to Detroit. This lake is 

[ 107 ] 

about ninety miles in circumference, and by the way of 
Huron River, which runs from the south corner of Lake 
Huron, receives the waters of the three great lakes, Supe- 
rior, Michegan, and Huron. Its form is rather round, and 
in some places it is deep enough for the navigation of large 
vessels, but towards the middle of it there is a bar of sand, 
which prevents those that are loaded from passing over it. 
Such as are in ballast only may find water sufficient to 
carry them quite through ; the cargoes, however, of such 
as are freighted must be taken out, and after being trans- 
ported across the bar in boats, reshipped again. 

The river that runs from Lake St. Claire to Lake Erie 
(or rather the Straight, for thus it might be termed from 
its name) is called Detroit, which is in French, the Straight. 
It runs nearly south, has a gentle current, and depth of 
water sufficient for ships of considerable burthen. The 
town of Detroit is situated on the western banks of this 
river, about nine miles below Lake St. Claire. 

Almost opposite, on the eastern shore, is the village of 
the ancient Hurons : a tribe of Indians which have been 
treated of by so many writers, that adhering to the restric- 
tions I have laid myself under of only describing places and 
people little known, or incidents that have passed unnoticed 
by others, I shall omit giving a description of them. A 
missionary of the order of Carthusian Friars, by permission 
of the bishop of Canada, resides among them. 

The banks of the River Detroit, both above and below 
these towns, are covered with settlements that extend more 
than twenty miles ; the country being exceedingly fruitful, 
and proper for the cultivation of wheat, Indian corn, oats, 
and peas. It has also many spots of fine pasturage ; but 
as the inhabitants, who are chiefly French that submitted to 
the English government after the conquest of these parts by 
General Amherst, are more attentive to the Indian trade 
than to farming, it is but badly cultivated. 

[ 108 ] 

The town of Detroit contains upwards of one hundred 
houses. The streets are somewhat regular, and have a 
range of very convenient and handsome barracks, with a 
spacious parade at the south end. On the west side lies 
the King's garden belonging to the governor, which is very 
well laid out and kept in good order. The fortifications of 
the town consist of a strong stockade made of round piles, 
fixed firmly in the ground, and lined with palisades. These 
are defended by some small bastions, on which are mounted 
a few indifferent cannon of an inconsiderable size, just suf- 
ficient for its defence against the Indians, or an enemy not 
provided with artillery. 

The garrison, in time of peace, consists of two hundred 
men commanded by a field officer, who acts as chief ma- 
gistrate under the governor of Canada. Mr. Turnbull, 
captain of the 60th regiment, or Royal Americans, was 
commandant when I happened to be there. This gentle- 
man was deservedly esteemed and respected, both by the 
inhabitants and traders, for the propriety of his conduct ; 
and I am happy to have an opportunity of thus publickly 
making my acknowledgments to him, for the civilities I re- 
ceived from him during my stay. 

In the year 1762, in the month of July, it rained on this 
town and the parts adjacent, a sulphureous water of the 
colour and consistence of ink ; some of which being col- 
lected into bottles, and wrote with appeared perfectly in- 
telligible on the paper, and answered every purpose of that 
useful liquid. Soon after, the Indian wars already spoken 
of, broke out in these parts. I mean not to say that this 
incident was ominous of them, notwithstanding it is well 
known that innumerable well attested instances of extraor- 
dinary phenomena happening before extraordinary events, 
have been recorded in almost every age by historians of 
veracity ; I only relate the circumstances as a fact of which 
I was informed by many persons of undoubted probity, 

[ 109 ] 

and leave my Readers, as I have hitherto done, to draw 
their own conclusions from it. 

Pontiac, under whom the party that surprized Fort 
Michillimackinac, as related in the former part of this 
work, acted, was an enterprizing chief or head-warrior of 
the Miames. During the late war between the English 
and the French he had been a steady friend to the latter, 
and continued his inveteracy to the former even after peace 
had been concluded between these two nations. Unwilling 
to put an end to the depredations he had been so long en- 
gaged in, he collected an army of confederate Indians, con- 
sisting of the nations before enumerated, with an intention 
to renew the war. However, instead of openly attacking 
the English settlements, he laid a scheme for taking by 
surprize those forts on the extremities which they had lately 
gained possession of. 

How well the party he detached to take Fort Michilli- 
mackinac succeeded, the Reader already knows. To get 
into his hands Detroit, a place of greater consequence, and 
much better guarded, required greater resolution, and more 
consummate art. He of course took the management of 
this expedition on himself, and drew near it with the prin- 
cipal body of his troops. He was however prevented from 
carrying his designs into execution by an apparently trivial 
and unforeseen circumstance. On such does the fate of 
mighty Empires frequently depend ! 

The town of Detroit, when Pontiac formed his plan, was 
garrisoned by about three hundred men commanded by 
Major Gladwyn, a gallant officer. As at that time every 
appearance of war was at an end, and the Indians seemed 
to be on a friendly footing, Pontiac approached the Fort, 
without exciting any suspicions in the breast of the governor 
or the inhabitants. He encamped at a little distance from 
it, and sent to let the commandant know that he was come 
to trade ; and being desirous of brightening the chain of 

[ no ] 

peace between the English and his nation, desired that he 
and his chiefs may be admitted to hold a council with him. 
The governor still unsuspicious, and not in the least doubt- 
ing the sincerity of the Indians, granted their general's re- 
quest, and fixed on the next morning for their reception. 

The evening of that day, an Indian woman who had been 
employed by Major Gladwyn to make him a pair of Indian 
shoes, out of curious elk-skin, brought them home. The 
Major was so pleased with them, that, intending these as a 
present for a friend, he ordered her to take the remainder 
back, and make it into others for himself. He then directed 
his servant to pay her for those she had done, and dis- 
missed her. The woman went to the door that led to the 
street, but no further ; she there loitered about as if she had 
not finished the business on which she came. A servant at 
length observed her, and asked her why she staid there ; 
she gave him, however, no answer. 

Some short time after, the governor himself saw her ; 
and enquired of his servant what occasioned her stay. 
Not being able to get a satisfactory answer, he ordered the 
woman to be called in. When she came into his presence 
he desired to know what was the reason of her loitering 
about, and not hastening home before the gates were shut' 
that she might complete in due time the work he had given 
her to do. She told him, after much hesitation, that as he 
had always behaved with great goodness towards her, she 
was unwilling to take away the remainder of the skin, be- 
cause he put so great a value upon it ; and yet had not been 
able to prevail upon herself to tell him so. He then asked 
her, why she was more reluctant to do so now, than she had 
been when she made the former pair. With increased re- 
luctance she answered, that she never should be able to 
bring them back. 

His curiosity being now excited, he insisted on her dis- 
closing to him the secret that seemed to be struggling in 

[ ni ] 

her bosom for utterance. At last, on receiving a promise 
that the intelligence she was about to give him should not 
turn to her prejudice, and that if it appeared to be bene- 
ficial she should be rewarded for it, she informed him, that 
at the council to be held with the Indians the following 
day, Pontiac and his chiefs intended to murder him ; and, 
after having massacred the garrison and inhabitants, to 
plunder the town. That for this purpose all the chiefs who 
were to be admitted into the council room had cut their 
guns short, so that they could conceal them under their 
blankets ; with which, at a signal given by their general 
on delivering the belt, they were all to rise up, and in- 
stantly to fire on him and his attendants. Having effected 
this, they were immediately to rush into the town, where 
they would find themselves supported by a great number 
of their warriors, that were to come into it during the sit- 
ting of the council, under pretence of trading, but privately 
armed in the same manner. Having gained from the 
woman every necessary particular relative to the plot, and 
also the means by which she acquired a knowledge of 
them, he dismissed her with injunctions of secrecy, and a 
promise of fulfilling on his part with punctuality the en- 
gagements he had entered into. 

The intelligence the governor had just received, gave 
him great uneasiness ; and he immediately consulted the 
officer who was next to him in command on the subject. 
But that gentleman considering the information as a story 
invented for some artful purposes, advised him to pay no 
attention to it. This conclusion however had happily no 
weight with him. He thought it prudent to conclude it to 
be true, till he was convinced that it was not so; and 
therefore, without revealing his suspicions to any other 
person, he took every needful precaution that the time 
would admit of. He walked round the fort during the 
whole night, and saw himself that every centinel was on 
duty, and every weapon of defence in proper order. 

t 112 ] 

As he traversed the ramparts which lay nearest to the 
Indian camp, he heard them in high festivity, and, little 
imagining that their plot was discovered, probably pleas- 
ing themselves with the anticipation of their success. As 
soon as the morning dawned, he ordered all the garrison 
under arms ; and then imparting his apprehensions to a 
few of the principal officers, gave them such directions as 
he thought necessary. At the same time he sent round to 
all the traders, to inform them, that as it was expected a 
great number of Indians would enter the town that day, 
who might be inclined to plunder, he desired they would 
have their arms ready, and repel every attempt of that 

About ten o'clock, Pontiac and his chiefs arrived ; and 
were conducted to the council-chamber, where the gov- 
ernor and his principal officers, each with pistols in their 
belts, awaited his arrival. As the Indians passed on, they 
could not help observing that a greater number of troops 
than usual were drawn up on the parade, or marching 
about. No sooner were they entered, and seated on the 
skins prepared for them, than Pontiac asked the governor 
on what occasion his young men, meaning the soldiers, 
were thus drawn up, and parading the streets. He re- 
ceived for answer, that it was only intended to keep them 
perfect in their exercise. 

The Indian chief- warrior now began his speech, which 
contained the strongest professions of friendship and good- 
will towards the English ; and when he came to the de- 
livery of the belt of wampum, the particular mode of which, 
according to the woman's information, was to be the signal 
for his chiefs to fire, the governor and all his attendants 
drew their swords half-way out of their scabbards; and the 
soldiers at the same instant made a clattering with their 
arms before the doors, which had been purposely left open. 
Pontiac, though one of the boldest of men, immediately 
turned pale, and trembled ; and instead of giving the belt 

[ 113 ] 

in the manner proposed, delivered it according to the usual 
way. His chiefs, who had impatiently expected the sig- 
nal, looked at each other with astonishment, but continued 
quiet, waiting the result. 

The governor in his turn made a speech ; but instead of 
thanking the great warrior for the professions of friendship 
he had just uttered, he accused him of being a traitor. He 
told him that the English, who knew every thing, were 
convinced of his treachery and villainous designs ; and as 
a proof that they were well acquainted with his most 
secret thoughts and intentions, he stepped towards the 
Indian chief that sat nearest to him, and drawing aside his 
blanket discovered the shortened firelock. This entirely 
disconcerted the Indians, and frustrated their design. 

He then continued to tell them, that as he had given his 
word at the time they desired an audience, that their per- 
sons should be safe, he would hold his promise inviolable, 
though they so little deserved it. However he advised 
them to make the best of their way out of the fort, lest his 
young men, on being acquainted with their treacherous 
purposes, should cut every one of them to pieces. Pontiac 
endeavoured to contradict the accusation, and to make ex- 
cuses for his suspicious conduct ; but the governor, satis- 
fied of the falsity of his protestations, would not listen to 
him. The Indians immediately left the fort, but instead of 
being sensible of the governor's generous behaviour, they 
threw off the mask, and the next day made a regular attack 
upon it. 

Major Gladwyn has not escaped censure for this mis- 
taken lenity ; for probably had he kept a few of the prin- 
cipal chiefs prisoners, whilst he had them in his power, he 
might have been able to have brought the whole confed- 
eracy to terms, and have prevented a war. But he atoned 
for this oversight, by the gallant defence he made for more 
than a year, amidst a variety of discouragements. 


[ 114 ] 

During that period some very smart skirmishes hap- 
pened between the besiegers and the garrison, of which the 
following was the principal and most bloody. Captain 
Delzel, a brave officer, prevailed on the governor to give 
him the command of about two hundred men, and to per- 
mit him to attack the enemy's camp. This being complied 
with, he sallied from the town before day-break ; but Pon- 
tiac, receiving from some of his swift- footed warriors, who 
were constantly employed in watching the motions of the 
garrison, timely intelligence of their design, he collected 
together the choicest of his troops, and met the detachment 
at some distance from his camp, near a place since called 
Bloody-Bridge. As the Indians were vastly superior in 
numbers to captain DelzePs party, he was soon over- 
powered and driven back. Being now nearly surrounded, 
he made a vigorous effort to regain the bridge he had just 
crossed, by which alone he could find a retreat ; but in 
doing this he lost his life, and many of his men fell with 
him. However, Major Rogers, the second in command, 
assisted by Lieutenant Breham, found means to draw off 
the shattered remains of their little army, and conducted 
them into the fort. 

Thus considerably reduced, it was with difficulty the 
Major could defend the town ; notwithstanding which, he 
held out against the Indians till he was relieved, as after 
this they made but few attacks on the place, and only con- 
tinued to blockade it. 

The Gladwyn Schooner (that in which I afterwards took 
my passage from Michillimackinac to Detroit, and which I 
since learn w T as lost with all her crew on Lake Erie, 
through the obstinacy of the commander, who could not be 
prevailed upon to take in sufficient ballast) arrived about 
this time near the town with a reinforcement and neces- 
sary supplies. But before this vessel could reach the 
place of its destination, it was most vigorously attacked by 

t 115 ] 

a detachment from Pontiac's army. The Indians sur- 
rounded it in their canoes, and made great havock among 
the crew. At length the captain of the schooner with a 
considerable number of his men being killed, and the sav- 
ages beginning to climb up its sides from every quarter, 
the Lieutenant (Mr. Jacobs, who afterwards commanded, 
and was lost in it)4^ing determined that the stores should 
not fall into the enemy's hands, and seeing no other alter- 
native, ordered the gunner to set fire to the powder-room, 
and blow the ship up. This order was on the point of 
being executed, when a chief of the Hurons, who under- 
stood the English language, gave out to his friends the in- 
tention of the commander. On receiving this intelligence 
the Indians hurried down the sides of the ship with the 
greatest precipitation, and got as far from it as possible ; 
whilst the commander immediately took advantage of their 
consternation, and arrived without any further obstruction 
at the town. 

This seasonable supply gave the garrison fresh spirits ; 
and Pontiac being now convinced that it would not be in 
his power to reduce the place, proposed an accommoda- 
tion ; the governor wishing as much to get rid of such 
troublesome enemies, who obstructed the intercourse of the 
traders with the neighbouring nations, listened to his pro- 
posals, and having procured advantageous terms, agreed 
to a peace. The Indians soon after separated, and re- 
turned to their different provinces; nor have they since 
thought proper to disturb, at least in any great degree, the 
tranquillity of these parts. 

Pontiac henceforward seemed to have laid aside the ani- 
mosity he had hitherto borne towards the English, and 
apparently became their zealous friend. To reward this 
new attachment, and to insure a continuance of it, govern- 
ment allowed him a handsome pension. But his restless 
and intriguing spirit would not suffer him to be grateful for 

[ 116 ] 

this allowance, and his conduct at length grew suspicious ; 
so that going, in the year 1767, to hold a council in the 
country of the Illinois, a faithful Indian, who was either 
commissioned by one of the English governors, or insti- 
gated by the love he bore the English nation, attended him 
as a spy ; and being convinced from the speech Pontiac 
made in the council that he still retained his former preju- 
dices against those for whom he now professed a friend- 
ship, he plunged his knife into his heart, as soon as he had 
done speaking, and laid him dead on the spot. 

But to return from this digression. 

Lake Erie receives the waters by which it is supplied 
from the three great lakes, through the Straights of De- 
troit, that lie at its north-west corner. This Lake is situ- 
ated between forty- one and forty-three degrees of north 
latitude, and between seventy-eight and eighty-three de- 
grees of west longitude. It is near three hundred miles 
long from east to west, and about forty in its broadest 
part : and a remarkable long narrow point lies on its north 
side, that projects for several miles into the lake towards 
the south-east. 

There are several islands near the west end of it so in- 
fested with rattle-snakes, that it is very dangerous to land 
on them. It is impossible that any place can produce a 
greater number of all kinds of these reptiles than this does, 
particularly of the water-snake. The Lake is covered near 
the banks of the islands with the large pond-lily ; the leaves 
of which lie on the surface of the water so thick, as to cover 
it entirely for many acres together ; and on each of these 
lay, when I passed over it, wreaths of water-snakes bask- 
ing in the sun, which amounted to myriads. 

The most remarkable of the different species that infest 
this Lake, is the hissing-snake, which is of the small speck- 
led kind, and about eighteen inches long. When any thing 
approaches, it flattens itself in a moment, and its spots, 

[ 117 ] 

which are of various dyes, become visibly brighter through 
rage ; at the same time it blows from its mouth with great 
force a subtile wind, that is reported to be of a nauseous 
smell ; and if drawn in with the breath of the unwary 
traveller, will infallibly bring on a decline, that in a few 
months must prove mortal, there being no remedy yet dis- 
covered which can counteract its baneful influence. 

The stones and pebbles on the shores of this Lake are 
most of them tinged, in a greater or less degree, with spots 
that resemble brass in their colour, but which are of a 
sulphureous nature. Small pieces, about the size of hazle- 
nuts, of the same kinds of ore, are found on the sands that 
lie on its banks, and under the water. 

The navigation of this Lake is esteemed more dangerous 
than any of the others on account of many high lands that 
lie on the borders of it, and project into the water in a per- 
pendicular direction for many miles together ; so that 
whenever sudden storms arise, canoes and boats are fre- 
quently lost, as there is no place for them to find a shelter. 

This Lake discharges its waters at the north-east end, 
into the River Niagara, which runs north and south, and is 
about thirty-six miles in length ; from whence it falls into 
Lake Ontario. At the entrance of this river, on its eastern 
shore, lies Fort Niagara ; and, about eighteen miles further 
up, those remarkable Falls which are esteemed one of 
the most extraordinary productions of nature at present 

As these have been visited by so many travellers, and so 
frequently described, I shall omit giving a particular de- 
scription of them, and only observe, that the waters by 
which they are supplied, after taking their rise near two 
thousand miles to the north-west, and passing through the 
Lakes Superior, Michegan, Huron, and Erie, during which 
they have been receiving constant accumulations, at length 
rush down a stupendous precipice of one hundred and forty 

[ 118 ] 

feet perpendicular ; and in a strong rapid, that extends to 
the distance of eight or nine miles below, fall nearly as 
much more ; this River soon after empties itself into Lake 

The noise of these Falls might be heard an amazing way. 
I could plainly distinguish them in a calm morning more 
than twenty miles. Others have said that at particular 
times, and when the wind sits fair, the sound of them 
reaches fifteen leagues. 

The land about the Falls is exceedingly hilly and uneven, 
but the greatest part of that on the Niagara River is very 
good, especially for grass and pasturage. 

Fort Niagara stands nearly at the entrance of the west 
end of Lake Ontario, and on the east part of the Straights 
of Niagara. It was taken from the French in the year 
1759, by the forces under the command of Sir William 
Johnson, and at present is defended by a considerable 

Lake Ontario is the next, and least of the five great 
Lakes of Canada. Its situation is between forty-three 
and forty-five degrees of latitude, and between seventy-six 
and seventy-nine degrees of west longitude. The form of 
it is nearly oval, its greatest length being from north-east 
to south-west, and in circumference, about six hundred 
miles. Near the south-east part it receives the waters of 
the Oswego River, and on the north-east discharges itself 
into the River Cataraqui. Not far from the place where 
it issues, Fort Frontenac formerly stood, which was taken 
from the French during the last war, in the year 1758, by 
a small army of Provincials under Colonel Bradstreet. 

At the entrance of Oswego River stands a fort of the 
same name, garrisoned only at present by an inconsidera- 
ble party. This fort was taken in the year 1756 by the 
French, when a great part of the garrison, which consisted 
of the late Shirley's and Pepperil's regiments, were mas- 
sacred in cold blood by the savages. 

[ H9 ] 

In Lake Ontario are taken many sorts of fish, among 
which is the Oswego Bass, of an excellent flavour, and 
weighing about three or four pounds. There is also a sort 
called the Cat-head or Pout, which are in general very 
large, some of them weighing eight or ten pounds ; and 
they are esteemed a rare dish when properly dressed. 

On the north-west parts of this Lake, and to the south- 
east of Lake Huron, is a tribe of Indians called the Missi- 
sauges, whose town is denominated Toronto, from the lake 
on which it lies ; but they are not very numerous. The 
country about Lake Ontario, especially the more north and 
eastern parts, is composed of good land, and in time may 
make very flourishing settlements. 

The Oniada Lake, situated near the head of the River 
Oswego, receives the waters of Wood-Creek, which takes 
its rise not far from the Mohawks River. These two lie 
so adjacent to each other, that a junction is effected by 
sluices at Fort Stanwix, about twelve miles from the mouth 
of the former. This Lake is about thirty miles long from 
east to west, and near fifteen broad. The country around 
it belongs to the Oniada Indians. 

Lake Champlain, the next in size to Lake Ontario, and 
which lies nearly east from it, is about eighty miles in length, 
north and south, and in its broadest part fourteen. It is 
well stored with fish, and the lands that lie on all the bor- 
ders of it, or about its rivers, very good. 

Lake George, formerly called by the French Lake St. 
Sacrament, lies to the south-west of the last-mentioned 
lake, and is about thirty-five miles long from north-east to 
south-west, but of no great breadth. The country around 
it is very mountainous, but in the vallies the land is tolerably 

When these two lakes were first discovered, they were 
known by no other name than that of the Iroquois Lakes ; 
and I believe in the first plans taken of those parts were so 

[ 120 ] 

denominated. The Indians also that were then called the 
Iroquois, are since known by the name of the Five Mo- 
hawk Nations, and the Mohawks of Canada. In the late 
war, the former, which consist of the Onondagoes, the 
Oniadas, the Senecas, the Tuscarories, and Iroondocks, 
fought on the side of the English ; the latter, which are 
called the Cohnawaghans, and St. Francis Indians, joined 
the French. 

A vast tract of land that lies between the two last-men- 
tioned lakes and Lake Ontario, was granted in the year 
1629 by the Plymouth Company, under a patent they had 
received from King James I. to Sir Ferdinando Gorges, 
and to Captain John Mason, the head of that family, after- 
wards distinguished from others of the same name by the 
Masons of Connecticut. The countries specified in this 
grant are said to begin ten miles from the heads of the 
rivers that run from the east and south into Lake George 
and Lake Champlain ; and continuing from these in a di- 
rect line westward, extend to the middle of Lake Ontario ; 
from thence, being bounded by the Cataraqui, or the River 
of the Iroquois, they take their course through Montreal, 
as far as Fort Sorrell, which lies at the junction of this 
river with the Richlieu ; and from that point are inclosed by 
the last-mentioned river till it returns back to the two lakes. 

This immense space was granted, by the name of the 
Province of Laconia, to the aforesaid gentlemen on speci- 
fied conditions, and under certain penalties ; but none of 
these amounted, in case of omission in the fulfillment of 
any part of them, to forfeiture, a fine only could be exacted. 

On account of the continual wars to which these parts 
have been subject, from their situation between the settle- 
ments of the English, the French, and the Indians, this 
grant has been suffered to lie dormant by the real proprie- 
tors. Notwithstanding which, several towns have been 
settled since the late war, on the borders of Lake Cham- 

[ 121 ] 

plain, and grants made to different people by the governor 
of New York of part of these territories, which are now 
become annexed to that province. 

There are a great number of lakes on the north of Can- 
ada, between Labrador, Lake Superior, and Hudson's 
Bay, but these are comparatively small. As they lie out 
of the track that I pursued, I shall only give a summary 
account of them. The most westerly of these are the 
Lakes Nipising and Tamiscaming. The first lies at the 
head of the French River, and runs into Lake Huron ; the 
other on the Ottowaw River, which empties itself into the 
Cataraqui, at Montreal. These lakes are each about one 
hundred miles in circumference. 

The next is Lake Mistassin, on the head of Rupert's 
River, that falls into James's Bay. This Lake is so irregu- 
lar from the large points of land by which it is intersected 
on every side, that it is difficult either to describe its shape, 
or to ascertain its size. It however appears on the whole 
to be more than two hundred miles in circumference. 

Lake St. John, which is about eighty miles round, and 
of a circular form, lies on the Saguenay River, directly 
north of Quebec, and falls into the St. Lawrence, some- 
what north-east of that city. Lake Manikouagone lies 
near the head of the Black River, which empties itself 
into the St. Lawrence to the eastward of the last-men- 
tioned river, near the coast of Labrador, and is about sixty 
miles in circumference. Lake Pertibi, Lake Wincktagan, 
Lake Etchelaugon, and Lake Papenouagane, with a num- 
ber of other small lakes, lie near the heads of the Bustard 
River to the north of the St. Lawrence, Many others, 
which it is unnecessary to particularize here, are also found 
between the Lakes Huron and Ontario. 

The whole of those I have enumerated, amounting to 
upwards of twenty, are within the limits of Canada ; and 
from this account it might be deduced, that the northern 


[ 122 ] 

parts of North America, through these numerous inland seas, 
contain a greater quantity of water than any other quarter of 
the globe. 

In October 1768 I arrived at Boston, having been absent 
from it on this expedition two years and five months, and 
during that time travelled near seven thousand miles. From 
thence, as soon as I had properly digested my Journal and 
Charts, I set out for England, to communicate the discover- 
ies I had made, and to render them beneficial to the kingdom. 
But the prosecution of my plans for reaping these advanta- 
ges have hitherto been obstructed by the unhappy divisions 
that have been fomented between Great Britain and the Col- 
onies by their mutual enemies. Should peace once more 
bere stored, I doubt not but that the countries I have described 
ivill prove a more abundant source of riches to this nation 
than either its East or West Indian settlements ; and I shall 
not only pride myself, but sincerely rejoice in being the 
means of pointing out to it so valuable an acquisition. 

I cannot conclude the account of my extensive travels, 
without expressing my gratitude to that beneficent Being 
who invisibly protected me through those perils which una- 
voidably attended so long a tour among fierce and untutored 

At the same time let me not be accused of vanity or pre- 
sumption, if I declare that the motives alledged in the In- 
troduction of this work, were not the only ones that induced 
me to engage in this arduous undertaking. My view T s were 
not solely confined to the advantages that might accrue, ei- 
ther to myself, or the community to which I belonged ; but 
nobler purposes contributed principally to urge me on. 

The confined state, both with regard to civil and religious 
improvements, in which so many of my fellow creatures re- 
mained, aroused within my bosom an irresistible inclination 
to explore the almost unknown regions which they inhabited ; 
and, as a preparatory step towards the introduction of more 

[ 123 ] 

polished manners, and more humane sentiments, to gain a 
knowledge of their language, customs, and principles. 

I confess that the little benefit too many of the Indian na- 
tions have hitherto received from their intercourse with those 
who denominate themselves Christians, did not tend to en- 
courage my charitable purposes ; yet, as many, though not 
the generality, might receive some benefit from the introduc- 
tion among them of the polity and religion of the Europeans, 
without retaining only the errors or vices that from the de- 
pravity and perversion of their professors are unhappily at- 
tendant on these, I determined to persevere. 

Nor could I flatter myself that I should be able to accom- 
plish alone this great design ; however, I was willing to con- 
tribute as much as lay in my power towards it. In all pub- 
lic undertakings would every one do this, and furnish with 
alacrity his particular share towards it, what stupendous 
works might not be completed. 

It is true that the Indians are not without some sense of 
religion, and such as proves that they worship the Great 
Creator with a degree of purity unknown to nations who 
have greater opportunities of improvement ; but their reli- 
gious principles are far from being so faultless as described by 
a learned writer, or unmixed with opinions and ceremonies 
that greatly lessen their excellency in this point. So that 
could the doctrines of genuine and vital Christianity be in- 
troduced among them, pure and untainted as it flowed from 
the lips of its Divine Institutor, it would certainly tend to 
clear away that superstitious or idolatrous dross by which 
the rationality of their religious tenets are obscured. Its 
mild and beneficent precepts would likewise conduce to 
soften their implacable dispositions, and to refine their savage 
manners ; and happy shall I esteem myself if this publica- 
tion shall prove the means of pointing out the path by which 
salutary instructions may be conveyed to them, and the con- 
version, though but of a few, be the consequence. 
Conclusion of the JOURNAL, &c. 






Of their Origin. 

The means by which America received its first Inhabitants, 
have, since the time of its discovery by the Europeans, been 
the subject of numberless disquisitions. Was I to endeavour 
to collect the different opinions and reasonings of the various 
writers that have taken up the pen in defence of their con- 
jectures, the enumeration would much exceed the bounds 
I have prescribed myself, and oblige me to be less explicit 
on points of greater moment. 

From the obscurity in which this debate is enveloped, 
through the total disuse of letters among every nation of In- 
dians on this extensive continent, and the uncertainty of oral 
tradition at the distance of so many ages, I fear, that even 
after the most minute investigation we shall not be able to 
settle it with any great degree of certainty. And this appre- 
hension will receive additional force, when it is considered 
that the diversity of language which is apparently distinct 

[ 126 ] 

between most of the Indians, tends to ascertain that this 
population was not effected from one particular country, but 
from several neighbouring ones, and completed at different 

Most of the historians or travellers that have treated on 
the American Aborigines disagree in their sentiments rela- 
tive to them. Many of the ancients are supposed to have 
known that this quarter of the globe not only existed, but 
also that it was inhabited. Plato in his Timaeus has assert- 
ed, that beyond the island which he calls Atalantis, and 
which according to his description was situated in the west- 
ern Ocean, there were a great number of other islands, and 
behind those a vast Continent. 

Oviedo, a celebrated Spanish author of a much later date, 
has made no scruple to affirm that the Antilles are the famous 
Hesperides so often mentioned by the poets ; which are at 
length restored to the kings of Spain, the descendants of 
King Hesperus, who lived upwards of three thousand years 
ago, and from whom these islands received their name. 

Two other Spaniards, the one, Father Gregorio Garcia, a 
Dominican, the other, Father Joseph De Acosta, a Jesuit, 
have written on the origin of the Americans. 

The former, who had been employed in the missions of 
Mexico and Peru, endeavoured to prove from the traditions 
of the Mexicans, Peruvians, and others, which he received 
on the spot, and from the variety of characters, customs, lan- 
guages, and religion observable in the different countries of 
the new world, that different nations had contributed to the 
peopling of it. 

The latter, Father De Acosta, in his examination of the 
means by which the first Indians of America might have 
found a passage to that continent, discredits the conclusions 
of those who have supposed it to be by sea, because no an- 
cient author has made mention of the compass : and con- 
cludes, that it must be either by the north of Asia and Eu- 

t 127 ] 

rope, which adjoin to each other, or by those regions that lie 
to the southward of the Straights of Magellan. He also re- 
jects the assertions of such as have advanced that it was 
peopled by the Hebrews. 

John De Laet, a Flemish writer, has controverted the 
opinions of these Spanish fathers, and of many others who 
have written on the same subject. The hypothesis he en- 
deavours to establish, is, that America was certainly peopled 
by the Scythians or Tartars ; and that the transmigration of 
these people happened soon after the dispersion of Noah's 
grandsons. He undertakes to show, that the most northern 
Americans have a greater resemblance, not only in the fea- 
tures of their countenances, but also in their complexion and 
manner of living, to the Scythians, Tartars, and Samoeides, 
than to any other nations. 

In answer to Grotius, who had asserted that some of the 
Norwegians passed into America by way of Greenland, and 
over a vast continent, he says, that it is well known that 
Greenland was not discovered till the year 964 ; and both 
Gomera and Herrera inform us that the Chichimeques 
were settled on the Lake of Mexico in 721. He adds, that 
these savages, according to the uniform tradition of the 
Mexicans who dispossessed them, came from the country 
since called New Mexico, and from the neighbourhood of 
California ; consequently North America must have been 
inhabited many ages before it could receive any inhabitants 
from Norway by way of Greenland. 

It is no less certain, he observes, that the real Mexicans 
founded their empire in 902, after having subdued the Chi- 
chimeques, the Otomias, and other barbarous nations, who 
had taken possession of the country round the Lake of Mex- 
ico, and each of whom spoke a language peculiar to them- 
selves. The real Mexicans ace likewise supposed to come 
from some of the countries that lie near California, and 

t 128 ] 

that they performed their journey for the most part by land ; 
of course they could not come from Norway. 

De Laet further adds, that though some of the inhabitants 
of North America may have entered it from the north-west, 
yet, as it is related by Pliny and some other writers, that on 
many of the islands near the western coast of Africa, partic- 
ularly on the Canaries, some ancient edifices were seen, it 
is highly probable from their being now deserted, that the 
inhabitants may have passed over to America; the passage 
being neither long nor difficult. This migration, according 
to the calculation of those authors, must have happened 
more than two thousand years ago, at a time when the Span- 
iards were much troubled by the Carthaginians ; from whom 
having obtained a knowledge of Navigation, and the con- 
struction of ships, they might have retired to the Antilles, 
by the way of the western isles, which were exactly half 
way on their voyage. 

He thinks also that Great Britain, Ireland, and the Orca- 
des were extremely proper to admit of a similar conjecture. 
As a proof, he inserts the following passage from the History 
of Wales, written by Dr. David Powel in the year 1170. 

This historian says, that Madoc, one of the sons of Prince 
Owen Gwynnith, being disgusted at the civil wars which 
broke out between his brothers, after the death of their father, 
fitted out several vessels, and having provided them with 
every thing necessary for a long voyage, went in quest of 
new lands to the westward of Ireland; there he discovered 
very fertile countries, but destitute of inhabitants ; when 
landing part of his people, he returned to Britain, where he 
raised new levies, and afterwards transported them to his 

The Flemish Author then returns to the Scythians, be- 
tween whom and the Americans he draws a parallel. He 
observes that several nations of them to the north of the 
Caspian Sea led a wandering life ; which, as well as many 

[ 129 ] 

other of their customs, and way of living, agrees in many 
circumstances with the Indians of America. And though 
the resemblances are not absolutely perfect, yet the emi- 
grants, even before they left their own country, differed from 
each other, and went not by the same name. Their change 
of abode affected what remained. 

He further says, that a similar likeness exists between 
several American nations, and the Samoeides who are set- 
tled, according to the Russian accounts, on the great River 
Oby. And it is more natural, continues he, to suppose that 
Colonies of these nations passed over to America by crossing 
the icy sea on their sledges, than for the Norwegians to travel 
all the way Grotius has marked out for them. 

This writer makes many other remarks that are equally 
sensible, and which appear to be just; but he intermixes 
with these some that are not so well-founded. 

Emanuel de Moraez, a Portuguese, in his history of Brazil, 
asserts that America has been wholly peopled by the Cartha- 
ginians and Israelites. He brings as a proof of this asser- 
tion the discoveries the former are known to have made at 
a great distance beyond the coast of Africa. The progress 
of which being put a stop to by the senate of Carthage, those 
who happened to be then in the newly discovered countries, 
being cut off from all communication with their countrymen, 
and destitute of many necessaries of life, fell into a state 
of barbarism. As to the Israelites, this author thinks that 
nothing but circumcision is wanted in order to constitute a 
perfect resemblance between them and the Brazilians. 

George De Hornn, a learned Dutchman, has likewise 
written on this subject. He sets out with declaring, that 
he does not believe it possible America could have been 
peopled before the flood, considering the short space of time 
which elapsed between the creation of the world and that 
memorable event. In the next place he lays it down as a 
principle, that after the deluge, men and other terrestrial ani- 


[ 130 ] 

mals penetrated into the country both by sea and by land ; 
some through accident, and some from a formed design. 
That birds got thither by flight ; which they were enabled 
to do by resting on the rocks and islands that were scattered 
about in the Ocean. 

He further observes, that wild beasts may have found a 
free passage by land ; and that if we do not meet with horses 
or cattle (to which he might have added elephants, camels, 
rhinoceros, and beasts of many other kinds) it is because 
those nations that passed thither, were either not acquainted 
with their use, or had no convenience to support them. 

Having totally excluded many nations that others have 
admitted as the probable first settlers of America, for which 
he gives substantial reasons, he supposes that it began to be 
peopled by the north; and maintains, that the primitive col- 
onies spread themselves by the means of the isthmus of 
Panama through the whole extent of the continent. 

He believes that the first founders of the Indian Colo- 
nies were Scythians. That the Phoenicians and Carthagin- 
ians afterwards got footing in America across the Atlantic 
Ocean, and the Chinese by way of the Pacific. And that 
other nations might from time to time have landed there by 
one or other of these ways, or might possibly have been 
thrown on the coast by tempests ; since, through the whole 
extent of that Continent, both in its northern and southern 
parts, we meet with undoubted marks of a mixture of the 
northern nations with those who have come from other places. 
And lastly, that some Jews and Christians might have been 
carried there by such like events, but that this must have 
happened at a time when the whole of the new world was 
already peopled. 

After all, he acknowledges that great difficulties attend 
the determination of the question. These, he says, are oc- 
casioned in the first place by the imperfect knowledge we 
have of the extremities of the globe, towards the north and 

[ 131 ] 

south pole ; and in the next place to the havock which the 
Spaniards, the first discoverers of the new world, made 
among its most ancient monuments ; as witness the great 
double road betwixt Quito and Cuzco, an undertaking so 
stupendous, that even the most magnificent of those exe- 
cuted by the Romans cannot be compared to it. 

He supposes also another migration of the Phoenicians, 
than those already mentioned, to have taken place ; and 
this was during a three years voyage made by the Tyrian 
fleet in the service of King Solomon. He asserts on the 
authority of Josephus, that the port at which this embarka- 
tion was made lay in the Mediterranean. The fleet, he adds, 
went in quest of elephants teeth and peacocks to the western 
Coast of Africa, which is Tarsish ; then to Ophir for gold, 
which is Haite, or the island of Hispaniola ; and in the latter 
opinion he is supported by Columbus, who, when he discov- 
ered that island, thought he could trace the furnaces in which 
the gold was refined. 

To these migrations which preceded the Christian aera, 
he adds many others of a later date from different nations, 
but these I have not time to enumerate. For the same 
reason I am obliged to pass over numberless writers on this 
subject ; and shall content myself with only giving the sen- 
timents of two or three more. 

The first of these is Pierre De Charlevoix, a Frenchman, 
who, in his journal of a voyage to North America, made so 
lately as the year 1720, has recapitulated the opinions of a 
variety of authors on this head, to which he has subjoined 
his own conjectures. But the latter cannot without some 
difficulty be extracted, as they are so interwoven with the 
passages he has quoted, that it requires much attention to 
discriminate them. 

He seems to allow that America might have received its 
first inhabitants from Tartary and Hyrcania. This he con- 
firms, by observing that the lions and tigers which are found 

[ 132 ] 

in the former, must have come from those countries, and 
whose passage serves for a proof that the two hemispheres 
join to the northward of Asia. He then draws a corrobora- 
tion of this argument, from a story he says he has often heard 
related by Father Grollon, a French Jesuit, as an undoubted 
matter of fact. 

This Father, after having laboured some time in the mis- 
sions of New France, passed over to those of China. One 
day as he was travelling in Tartary, he met a Huron woman 
whom he had formerly known in Canada. He asked her 
by what adventure she had been carried into a country so 
distant from her own. She made answer, that having been 
taken in war, she had been conducted from nation to nation, 
till she had reached the place at which she then was. 

Monsieur Charlevoix says further, that he had been as- 
sured, another Jesuit, passing through Nantz in his return 
from China, had related much such another affair of a Spanish 
woman from Florida. She also had been taken by certain 
Indians, and given to those of a more distant country ; and 
by these again to another nation, till having thus been suc- 
cessively passed from country to country, and travelling 
through regions extremely cold, she at last found herself in 
Tartary. Here she married a Tartar, who had attended the 
conquerors into China, where she was then settled. 

He acknowledges as an allay to the probability of these 
stories, that those who had sailed farthest to the eastward 
of Asia, by pursuing the coast of Jesso or Kamtschatka, have 
pretended that they had perceived the extremity of this con- 
tinent ; and from thence have concluded that there could not 
possibly be any communication by land. But he adds that 
Francis Guella, a Spaniard, is said to have asserted, that this 
separation is no more than a straight, about one hundred 
miles over, and that some late voyages of the Japonese give 
grounds to think that this straight is only a bay, above which 
there is a passage over land. 

[ 133 ] 

He goes on to observe, that though there are few wild 
beasts to be met with in North America, except a kind of ti- 
gers without spots, which are found in the country of the 
Iroquoise, yet towards the tropics there are lions and real 
tigers, which, notwithstanding, might have come from Hyr- 
cania and Tartary ; for as by advancing gradually southward 
they met with climates more agreeable to their natures, they 
have in time abandoned the northern countries. 

He quotes both Solinus and Pliny to prove that the Scyth- 
ian Anthropophagi once depopulated a great extent of country, 
as far as the promontory Tabin ; and also an author of later 
date, Mark Pol, a Venetian, who, he says, tells us, that to 
the north-east of China and Tartary there are vast uninhab- 
ited countries, which might be sufficient to confirm any con- 
jectures concerning the retreat of a great number of Scyth- 
ians into America. 

To this he adds, that we find in the antients the names of 
some of these nations. Pliny speaks of the Tabians ; Soli- 
nus mentions the Apuleans, who had for neighbours the 
Massagetes, whom Pliny since assures us to have entirely 
disappeared. Ammianus Marcellinus expressly tells us, that 
the fear of the Anthropophagi obliged several of the inhabi- 
tants of those countries to take refuge elsewhere. From all 
these authorities Mons. Charlevoix concludes, that there is at 
least room to conjecture that more than one nation in Amer- 
ica had a Scythian or Tartarian original. 

He finishes his remarks on the authors he has quoted, by 
the following observations : It appears to me that this con- 
troversy may be reduced to the two following articles ; first, 
how the new world might have been peopled ; and secondly, 
by whom, and by what means it has been peopled. 

Nothing, he asserts, may be more easily answered than 
the first. America might have been peopled as the three 
other parts of the world have been. Many difficulties 
have been formed on this subject, which have been deemed 

[ 134 ] 

insolvable, but which are far from being so. The inhabi- 
tants of both hemispheres are certainly the descendants of 
the same father ; the common parent of mankind received 
an express command from heaven to people the whole world, 
and accordingly it has been peopled. 

To bring this about it was necessary to overcome all dif- 
ficulties that lay in the way, and they have been got over. 
Were these difficulties greater with respect to peopling the 
extremities of Asia, Africa, and Europe, or the transporting 
men into the islands which lie at a considerable distance from 
those continents, than to pass over into America ? certainly 

Navigation, which has arrived at so great perfection within 
these three or four centuries, might possibly have been more 
perfect in those early ages than at this day. Who can be- 
lieve that Noah and his immediate descendants knew less 
of this art than we do ? That the builder and pilot of the 
largest ship that ever was, a ship that was formed to traverse 
an unbounded ocean, and had so many shoals and quicksands 
to guard against, should be ignorant of, or should not have 
communicated to those of his descendants who survived him, 
and by whose means he was to execute the order of the 
Great Creator ; I say, who can believe he should not have 
communicated to them the art of sailing upon an ocean, 
which was not only more calm and pacific, but at the same 
time confined within its ancient limits ? 

Admitting this, how easy is it to pass, exclusive of the 
passage already described, by land from the coast of Africa 
to Brazil, from the Canaries to the Western Islands, and 
from them to the Antilles ? From the British Isles, or the 
coast of France, to Newfoundland, the passage is neither 
long nor difficult ; I might say as much of that from China 
to Japan ; from Japan, or the Phillipines, to the Isles Mari- 
annes ; and from thence to Mexico. 

There are islands at a considerable distance from the con- 

[ 135 ] 

tinent of Asia, where we have not been surprized to find in- 
habitants, why then should we wonder to meet with people 
in America ? Nor can it be imagined that the grandsons of 
Noah, when they were obliged to separate and spread them- 
selves in conformity to the designs of God, over the whole 
earth, should find it impossible to people almost one half 
of it. 

I have been more copious in my extracts from this author 
than I intended, as his reasons appear to be solid, and many 
of his observations just. From this encomium, however, I 
must exclude the stories he has introduced of the Huron and 
Floridan women, which I think I might venture to pronounce 

I shall only add, to give my Readers a more comprehen- 
sive view of Mons. Charlevoix's dissertation, the method he 
proposes to come at the truth of what we are in search of. 

The only means by which this can be done, he says, is 
by comparing the languages of the Americans with the 
different nations, from whence we might suppose they have 
peregrinated. If we compare the former with those words 
that are considered as primitives, it might possibly set us 
upon some happy discovery. And this way of ascending 
to the original of nations, which is by far the least equivocal, 
is not so difficult as might be imagined. We have had, and 
still have, travellers and missionaries who have attained the 
languages that are spoken in all the provinces of the new 
world ; it would only be necessary to make a collection of 
their grammars and vocabularies, and to collate them with 
the dead and living languages of the old world, that pass for 
originals, and the similarity might easily be traced. Even 
the different dialects, in spite of the alterations they have 
undergone, still retain enough of the mother tongue to fur- 
nish considerable lights. 

Any enquiry into the manners, customs, religion, or tradi- 
tions of the Americans, in order to discover by that means 

[ 136 ] 

their origin, he thinks would prove fallacious. A disquisition 
of that kind, he observes, is only capable of producing a false 
light, more likely to dazzle, and to make us wander from 
the right path, than to lead us with certainty to the point 

Ancient traditions are effaced from the minds of such as 
either have not, or for several ages have been without, those 
helps that are necessary to preserve them. And in this sit- 
uation is full one half of the world. New events, and a new 
arrangement of things, give rise to new traditions, which ef- 
face the former, and are themselves effaced in turn. After 
one or two centuries have passed, there no longer remain 
any traces of the first traditions ; and thus we are involved 
in a state of uncertainty. 

He concludes with the following remarks, among many 
others. Unforeseen accidents, tempests, and shipwrecks, 
have certainly contributed to people every habitable part of 
the world ; and ought we to wonder, after this, at perceiving 
certain resemblances, both of persons and manners, between 
nations that are most remote from each other, when we find 
such a difference between those that border on one another ? 
As we are destitute of historical monuments, there is nothing, 
I repeat it, but a knowledge of the primitive languages that is 
capable of throwing any light upon these clouds of impene- 
trable darkness. 

By this enquiry we should at least be satisfied, among 
that prodigious number of various nations inhabiting Amer- 
ica, and differing so much in languages from each other, which 
are those who make use of words totally and entirely differ- 
ent from those of the old world, and who consequently must 
be reckoned to have passed over to America in the earliest 
ages, and those who, from the analogy of their language with 
such as are at present used in the three other parts of the 
globe, leave room to judge that their migration has been more 
recent, and which ought to be attributed to shipwrecks, or 

[ 137 ] 

to some accident similar to those which have been spoken 
of in the course of this treatise. 

I shall only add the opinion of one author more before I 
give my own sentiments on the subject, and that is of James 
Adair, Esq; who resided forty years among the Indians, and 
published the history of them in the year 1772. In his 
learned and systematical history of those nations, inhabiting 
the western parts of the most southern of the American col- 
onies, this gentleman without hesitation pronounces that the 
American Aborigines are descended from the Israelites, ei- 
ther whilst they were a maritime power, or soon after their 
general captivity. 

This descent he endeavours to prove from their religious 
rites, their civil and martial customs, their marriages, their 
funeral ceremonies, their manners, language, traditions, and 
from a variety of other particulars. And so complete is his 
conviction on this head, that he fancies he finds a perfect and 
indisputable similitude in each. Through all these I have 
not time to follow him, and shall therefore only give a few 
extracts to show on what foundation he builds his conjectures, 
and what degree of credit he is entitled to on this point. 

He begins with observing, that though some have supposed 
the Americans to be descended from the Chinese, yet neither 
their religion, laws, or customs agree in the least with those 
of the Chinese ; which sufficiently proves that they are not 
of this line. Besides, as our best ships are now almost half 
a year in sailing for China (our author does not here recollect 
that this is from a high northern latitude, across the Line, 
and then back again greatly to the northward of it, and not 
directly athwart the Pacific Ocean for only one hundred and 
eleven degrees) or from thence to Europe, it is very unlikely 
they should attempt such dangerous discoveries, with their 
supposed small vessels, against rapid currents, and in dark 
and sickly Monsoons. 

He further remarks, that this is more particularly improb- 


[ 138 ] 

able, as there is reason to believe that this nation was unao 
quainted with the use of the loadstone to direct their course. 
China, he says, is about eight thousand miles distant from 
the American continent, which is twice as far as across the 
Atlantic Ocean. And we are not informed by any ancient 
writer of their maritime skill, or so much as any inclination 
that way, besides small coasting voyages. The winds blow 
likewise, with little variation from east to west within the 
latitudes thirty and odd, north and south ; and therefore these 
could not drive them on the American coast, it lying directly 
contrary to such a course. 

Neither could persons, according to this writer's account, 
sail to America from the north by the way of Tartary or 
Ancient Scythia ; that, from its situation, never having been 
or can be a maritime power ; and it is utterly impracticable, 
he says, for any to come to America by sea from that quar- 
ter. Besides, the remaining traces of their religious ceremo- 
nies and civil and martial customs are quite opposite to the 
like vestiges of the Old Scythians. Even in the moderate 
northern climates there is not to be seen the least trace of any 
ancient stately buildings, or of any thick setlements, as are 
said to remain in the less healthy regions of Peru and Mexico. 
And several of the Indian nations assure us, that they crossed 
the Mississippi before they made their present northern set- 
tlements ; which, connected with the former arguments, he 
concludes will sufficiently explode that weak opinion of the 
American Aborigines being lineally descended from the Tar- 
tars or ancient Scythians. 

Mr. Adair's reasons for supposing that the Americans de- 
rive their origin from the Jews are, 

First, because they are divided into tribes, and have chiefs 
over them as the Israelites had. 

Secondly, because, as by a strict permanent divine precept, 
the Hebrew nation were ordered to worship, at Jerusalem, 
Jehovah the true and living God, so do the Indians, stiling 
him Yohewah. The ancient Heathens, he adds, it is well 

[ 139 ] 

known worshipped a plurality of gods, but the Indians pay 
their religious devotions to the Great beneficent supreme holy 
Spirit of Fire, who resides, as they think, above the clouds, 
and on earth also with unpolluted people. They pay no 
adoration to images, or to dead persons, neither to the celes- 
tial luminaries, to evil spirits, nor to any created beings what- 

Thirdly, because, agreeable to the theocracy or divine 
government of Israel, the Indians think the deity to be the 
immediate head of their state. 

Fourthly, because, as the Jews believe in the ministration 
of angels, the Indians also believe that the higher regions 
are inhabited by good spirits. 

Fifthly, because the Indian language and dialects appear 
to have the very idiom and genius of the Hebrew. Their 
words and sentences being expressive, concise, emphatical, 
sonorous, and bold ; and often, both in letters, and signifi- 
cation, are synonimous with the Hebrew language. 

Sixthly, because they count their lime after the manner 
of the Hebrews. 

Seventhly, because in conformity to, or after the manner 
of the Jews, they have their prophets, high-priests, and other 
religious orders. 

Eighthly, because their festivals, fasts, and religious rites 
have a great resemblance to those of the Hebrews. 

Ninthly, because the Indians, before they go to war, have 
many preparatory ceremonies of purification and fasting, like 
what is recorded of the Israelites. 

Tenthly, because the same taste for ornaments, and the 
same kind are made use of by the Indians, as by the Hebrews. 

These and many other arguments of a similar nature, Mr. 
Adair brings in support of his favourite system ; but I should 
imagine, that if the Indians are really derived from the 
Hebrews, among their religious ceremonies, on which he 
chiefly seems to build his hypothesis, the principal, that of 

[ 140 ] 

circumcision, would never have been laid aside, and its very 
remembrance obliterated. 

Thus numerous and diverse are the opinions of those who 
have hitherto written on this subject ! I shall not, however, 
either endeavour to reconcile them, or to point out the er- 
rors of each, but proceed to give my own sentiments on the 
origin of the Americans ; which are founded on conclusions 
drawn from the most rational arguments of the writers I 
have mentioned, and from my own observations ; the con- 
sistency of these I shall leave to the judgment of my Read- 

The better to introduce my conjectures on this head, it is 
necessary first to ascertain the distances between America 
and those parts of the habitable globe that approach nearest 
to it. 

The Continent of America, as far as we can judge from all 
the researches that have been made near the poles, appears 
to be entirely separated from the other quarters of the world. 
That part of Europe which approaches nearest to it, is the 
coast of Greenland, lying in about seventy degrees of north 
latitude ; and which reaches within twelve degrees of the 
coast of Labrador, situated on the north-east borders of this 
continent. The coast of Guinea is the nearest part of Africa ; 
which lies about eighteen hundred and sixty miles north-east 
from the Brazils. The most eastern^ coast of Asia, which 
extends to the Korean Sea on the north of China, projects 
north-east through eastern Tartary and Kamschatka to Si- 
beria, in about sixty degrees of north latitude. Towards 
which the western coasts of America, from California to the 
Straights of Annian, extend nearly north-west, and lie in 
about forty-six degrees of the same latitude. 

Whether the Continent of America stretches any farther 
north than these straights, and joins to the eastern parts of 
Asia, agreeable to what has been asserted by some of the 
writers I have quoted, or whether the lands that have been 

[ 141 ] 

discovered in the intermediate parts are only an archipelago 
of islands verging towards the opposite continent, is not yet 

It being, however, certain that there are many considera- 
ble islands which lie between the extremities of Asia and 
America, viz. Japon, Yeso or Jedso, Gama's Land, Behring's 
Isle, with many others discovered by Tschirikow, and be- 
sides these, from fifty degrees north there appearing to be a 
cluster of islands that reach as far as Siberia, it is probable 
from their proximity to America, that it received its first in- 
habitants from them. 

This conclusion is the most rational I am able to draw, 
supposing that since the Aborigines got footing on this con- 
tinent, no extraordinary or sudden change in the position or 
surface of it has taken place, from inundations, earthquakes, 
or any revolutions of the earth that we are at present unac- 
quainted with. 

To me it appears highly improbable that it should have 
been peopled from different quarters, across the Ocean, as 
others have asserted. From the size of the ships made use 
of in those early ages, and the want of the compass, it can- 
not be supposed that any maritime nation would by choice 
venture over the unfathomable Ocean in search of distant 
continents. Had this however been attempted, or had Amer- 
ica been first accidentally peopled from ships freighted with 
passengers of both sexes which were driven by strong east- 
erly winds across the Atlantic, these settlers must have re- 
tained some traces of the language of the country from whence 
they migrated ; and this since the discovery of it by the 
Europeans must have been made out. It also appears ex- 
traordinary that several of these accidental migrations, as 
allowed by some, and these from different parts, should have 
taken place. 

Upon the whole, after the most critical enquiries, and the 
maturest deliberation, I am of opinion, that America received 

[ 142 ] 

its first inhabitants from the north-east, by way of the great 
archipelago just mentioned, and from these alone. But this 
might have been effected at different times, and from various 
parts ; from Tartary, China, Japon, or Kamschatka, the in- 
habitants of these places resembling each other in colour, 
features, and shape ; and who, before some of them acquired 
a knowledge of the arts and sciences, might have likewise 
resembled each other in their manners, customs, religion, 
and language. 

The only difference between the Chinese nation and the 
Tartars lies in the cultivated state of the one, and the un- 
polished situation of the others. The former have become 
a commercial people, and dwell in houses formed into regu- 
lar towns and cities ; the latter live chiefly in tents, and rove 
about in different hords, without any fixed abode. Nor can 
the long and bloody wars these two nations have been en- 
gaged in, exterminate their hereditary similitude. The pres- 
ent family of the Chinese emperors is of Tartarian extrac- 
tion ; and if they were not sensible of some claim beside 
that of conquest, so numerous a people would scarcely sit 
quiet under the dominion of strangers. 

It is very evident that some of the manners and customs 
of the American Indians resemble those of the Tartars ; and I 
make no doubt but that in some future aera, and this not a very 
distant one, it will be reduced to a certainty, that during 
some of the wars between the Tartars and the Chinese, a 
part of the inhabitants of the northern provinces w r ere driven 
from their native country, and took refuge in some of the 
isles before-mentioned, and from thence found their way into 
America. At different periods each nation might prove vic- 
torious, and the conquered by turns fly before their conquer- 
ors ; and from hence might arise the similitude of the In- 
dians to all these people, and that animosity which exists 
between so many of their tribes. 

It appears plainly to me that a great similarity between 

[ 143 ] 

the Indian and Chinese is conspicuous in that particular 
custom of shaving or plucking off the hair, and leaving only 
a small tuft on the crown of the head. This mode is said to 
have been enjoined by the Tartarian emperors on their ac- 
cession to the throne of China, and consequently is a further 
proof that this custom was in use among the Tartars ; to 
whom as well as the Chinese, the Americans might be in- 
debted for it. 

Many words also are used both by the Chinese and In- 
dians, which have a resemblance to each other, not only in 
their sound, but their signification. The Chinese call a 
slave, shungo ; and the Naudowessie Indians, whose lan- 
guage from their little intercourse with the Europeans is the 
least corrupted, term a dog, shungush. The former denom- 
inate one species of their tea, shousong; the latter call their 
tobacco, shousassau. Many other of the words used by the 
Indians contain the syllables che, chaw, and chu, after the 
dialect of the Chinese. 

There probably might be found a similar connection be- 
tween the language of the Tartars and the American Abori- 
gines, were we as well acquainted with it as we are, from 
a commercial intercourse, with that of the Chinese. 

I am confirmed in these conjectures, by the accounts of 
Kamschatka published a few years ago by order of the 
Empress of Russia. The author of which says, that the 
sea which divides that peninsula from America is full of 
islands ; and that the distance between Tschukotskoi-Noss, 
a promontory which lies at the eastern extremity of that 
country, and the coast of America, is not more than two de- 
grees and a half of a great circle. He further says, that 
there is the greatest reason to suppose that Asia and Amer- 
ica once joined at this place, as the coasts of both continents 
appear to have been broken into capes and bays, which 
answer each other ; more especially as the inhabitants of 
this part of both resemble each other in their persons, hab- 

[ 144 ] 

its, customs, and food. Their language, indeed, he ob- 
serves, does not appear to be the same, but then the inhab- 
itants of each district in Kamschatka speak a language as 
different from each other, as from that spoken on the oppo- 
site coast. These observations, to which he adds, the 
similarity of the boats of the inhabitants of each coast, and 
a remark that the natives of this part of America are 
wholly strangers to wine and tobacco, which he looks 
upon as a proof that they have as yet had no communica- 
tion with the natives of Europe, he says, amount to little 
less than a demonstration that America was peopled from 
this part of Asia. 

The limits of my present undertaking will not permit 
me to dwell any longer on this subject, or to enumerate 
any other proofs in favour of my hypothesis. I am how- 
ever so thoroughly convinced of the certainty of it, and so 
desirous have I been to obtain every testimony which can 
be procured in its support, that I once made an offer to a 
private society of gentlemen, who were curious in such 
researches, and to w 7 hom I had communicated my senti- 
ments on this point, that I would undertake a journey, on 
receiving such supplies as were needful, through the north- 
east parts of Europe and Asia to the interior parts of 
America, and from thence to England ; making, as I pro- 
ceeded, such observations both on the language and man- 
ners of the people with whom I should be conversant, as 
might tend to illustrate the doctrine I have here laid down, 
and to satisfy the curiosity of the learned or inquisitive ; 
but as this proposal was judged rather to require a national 
than a private support, it was not carried into execution. 

I am happy to find, since I formed the foregoing conclu- 
sions, that they correspond with the sentiments of that 
great and learned historian Doctor Robertson; and though, 
with him, I acknowledge that the investigation, from its 
nature, is so obscure and intricate that the conjectures I 

[ 145 ] 

have made can only be considered as conjectures, and not 
indisputable conclusions, yet they carry with them a greater 
degree of probability than the suppositions of those who as- 
sert that this continent was peopled from another quarter. 

One of the Doctor's quotations from the Journals of 
Behring and Tschirikow, who sailed from Kamschatka 
about the year 1741 in quest of the New World, appears to 
carry great weight with it, and to afford our conclusions 
firm support: " These commanders having shaped their 
" course towards the east, discovered land, which to them 
" appeared to be part of the American continent; and ac- 
" cording to their observations, it seems to be situated 
" within a few degrees of the north-west coast of Califor- 
" nia. They had there some intercourse with the inhabi- 
" tants, who seemed to them to resemble the North Ameri- 
" cans ; as they presented to the Russians the Calumet or 
" Pipe of Peace, which is a symbol of friendship universal 
il among the people of North America, and an usage of 
" arbitrary institution peculiar to them." 

One of this incomparable writer's own arguments in 
support of his hypothesis is also urged with great judg- 
ment, and appears to be nearly conclusive. He says, 
" We may lay it. down as a certain principle in this en- 
" quiry, that America was not peopled by any nation of 
" the ancient continent, which had made considerable pro- 
" gress in civilization. The inhabitants of the New World 
" were in a state of society so extremely rude, as to be un- 
u acquainted with those arts which are the first essays of 
'* human ingenuity in its advance towards improvement. 
" Even the most cultivated nations of America were stran- 
" gers to many of those simple inventions, which were 
" almost coeval with society in other parts of the world, 
" and were known in the earliest periods of civil life. 
" From this it is manifest that the tribes which originally 
" migrated to America, came off from nations which must 


[ 146 ] 

" have been no less barbarous than their posterity, at the 
" time when they were first discovered by the Europeans. 
" If ever the use of iron had been known to the savages of 
"America, or to their progenitors, if ever they had em- 
" ployed a plough, a loom, or a forge, the utility of these 
" inventions would have preserved them, and it is impossi- 
" ble that they should have been abandoned or forgotten." 

Of their Persons, Dress, fyc. 

From the first settlement of the French in Canada, to the 
conquest of it by the English in 1760, several of that na- 
tion, who had travelled into the interior parts of North 
America, either to trade with the Indians, or to endeavour 
to make converts of them, have published accounts of their 
customs, manners, &c. 

The principal of these are Father Louis Hennipin, Mons. 
Charlevoix, and the Baron Le Hontan. The first, many 
years ago, published some very judicious remarks, which 
he was the better enabled to do by the assistance he re- 
ceived from the maps and diaries of the unfortunate Mons. 
De la Salle, who was assassinated whilst he was on his 
travels, by some of his own party. That gentleman's 
journals falling into Father Hennipin's hands, he was ena- 
bled by them to publish many interesting particulars rela- 
tive to the Indians. But in some respects he fell very 
short of that knowledge which it was in his power to have 
attained from his long residence among them. Nor was 
he always (as has been already observed) exact in his cal- 
culations, or just in the intelligence he has given us. 

The accounts published by the other two, particularly 
those of Charlevoix, are very erroneous in the geographi- 

[ 147 ] 

cal parts, and many of the stories told by the Baron are 
mere delusions. 

Some of the Jesuits, who heretofore travelled into these 
parts, have also written on this subject ; but as few, if any, 
of their works have been translated into the English lan- 
guage, the generality of Readers are not benefitted by 
them ; and, indeed, had this been done, they would have 
reaped but few advantages from them, as they have chiefly 
confined their observations to the religious principles of the 
savages, and the steps taken for their conversion. 

Since the conquest of Canada, some of our own country- 
men, who have lived among the Indians, and learned their 
language, have published their observations ; however as 
their travels have not extended to any of the interior parts 
I treat of, but have only been made among the nations that 
border on our settlements, a knowledge of the genuine and 
uncontaminated customs and manners of the Indians could 
not have been acquired by them. 

The southern tribes, and those that have held a constant 
intercourse with the French or English, cannot have pre- 
served their manners or their customs in their original 
purity. They could not avoid acquiring the vices with the 
language of those they conversed with ; and the frequent 
intoxications they experienced through the baneful juices 
introduced among them by the Europeans, have completed 
a total alteration in their characters. 

In such as these, a confused medley of principles or 
usages are only to be observed ; their real and unpolluted 
customs could be seen among those nations alone that have 
held but little communications with the provinces. These 
I found in the north-west parts, and therefore flatter my- 
self that I am able to give a more just account of the cus- 
toms and manners of the Indians, in their ancient purity, 
than any that has been hitherto published. I have made 
observations on thirty nations, and though most of these 

[ 148 ] 

have differed in their languages, there has appeared a great 
similarity in their manners, and from these have I endeav- 
oured to extract the following remarks. 

As I do not propose to give a regular and connected 
system of Indian concerns, but only to relate such particu- 
lars of their manners, customs, &c. as I thought most wor- 
thy of notice, and which interfere as little as possible with 
the accounts given by other writers, I must beg my Readers 
to excuse their not being arranged systematically, or treat- 
ed of in a more copious manner. 

The Indian nations do not appear to me to differ so 
widely in their make, colour, or constitution from each 
other, as represented by some writers. They are in gen- 
eral slight made, rather tall and strait, and you seldom see 
any among them deformed ; their skin is of a reddish or 
copper colour ; their eyes are large and black, and their 
hair of the same hue, but very rarely is it curled ; they 
have good teeth, and their breath is as sweet as the air they 
draw in ; their cheek-bones rather raised, but more so in 
the women than the men ; the former are not quite so tall 
as the European women, however you frequently meet 
with good faces and agreeable persons among them, al- 
though they are more inclined to be fat than the other 

I shall not enter into a particular enquiry whether the 
Indians are indebted to nature, art, or the temperature of 
the climate for the colour of their skin, nor shall I quote 
any of the contradictory accounts I have read on this sub- 
ject ; I shall only say, that it appears to me to be the tinc- 
ture they received originally from the hands of their Cre- 
ator ; but at what period the variation which is at present 
visible both in the complexion and features of many nations 
took place, at what time the European whiteness, the jetty 
hue of the African, or the copper cast of the American 
were given them ; which was the original colour of the 

[ 149 ] 

first inhabitants of the earth, or which might be esteemed 
the most perfect, I will not pretend to determine. 

Many writers have asserted, that the Indians, even at 
the maturest period of their existence, are only furnished 
with hair on their heads ; and that notwithstanding the pro- 
fusion with which that part is covered, those parts which 
among the inhabitants of other climates are usually the 
seat of this excrescence, remain entirely free from it. 
Even Doctor Robertson, through their misrepresentations, 
has contributed to propagate the error ; and supposing the 
remark justly founded, has drawn several conclusions from 
it relative to the habit and temperature of their bodies, 
which are consequently invalid. But from minute en- 
quiries, and a curious inspection, I am able to declare 
(however respectable I may hold the authority of these 
historians in other points) that their assertions are errone- 
ous, and proceeding from the want of a thorough knowl- 
edge of the customs of the Indians. 

After the age of puberty, their bodies, in their natural 
state, are covered in the same manner as those of the 
Europeans. The men, indeed, esteem a beard very unbe- 
coming, and take great pains to get rid of it, nor is there 
any ever to be perceived on their faces, except when they 
grow old, and become inattentive to their appearance. 
Every crinous efflorescence on the other parts of the body 
is held unseemly by them, and both sexes employ much 
time in their extirpation. 

The Naudowessies, and the remote nations, pluck them 
out with bent pieces of hard wood, formed into a kind of 
nippers ; whilst those who have communication with Eu- 
ropeans procure from them wire, which they twist into a 
screw or worm ; applying this to the part, they press the 
rings together, and with a sudden twitch draw out all the 
hairs that are inclosed between them. 

The men of every nation differ in their dress very little 

t 150 ] 

from each other, except those who trade with the Europeans ; 
these exchange their furs for blankets, shirts, and other ap- 
parel, which they wear as much for ornament as necessity. 
The latter fasten by a girdle around their waists about half 
a yard of broad cloth, which covers the middle parts of 
their bodies. Those who wear shirts never make them 
fast either at the wrist or collar; this would be a most in- 
sufferable confinement to them. They throw their blanket 
loose upon their shoulders, and holding the upper side of it 
by the two corners, with a knife in one hand, and a tobacco- 
pouch, pipe, &c. in the other, thus accoutred they walk 
about in their villages or camps: but in their dances they 
seldom wear this covering. 

Those among the men who wish to appear gayer than 
the rest, pluck from their heads all the hair except from a 
spot on the top of it about the size of a crown-piece, where 
it is permitted to grow to a considerable length : on this are 
fastened plumes of feathers of various colours with silver 
or ivory quills. The manner of cutting and ornamenting 
this part of the head distinguishes different nations from 
each other. 

They paint their faces red and black, which they esteem 
as greatly ornamental. They also paint themselves when 
they go to war : but the method they make use of on this 
occasion differs from that wherein they use it merely as a 

The young Indians, who are desirous of excelling their 
companions in finery, slit the outward rim of both their 
ears ; at the same time they take care not to separate them 
entirely, but leave the flesh thus cut still untouched at both 
extremities : around this spongy substance, from the upper 
to the lower part, they twist brass wire, till the weight 
draws the amputated rim into a bow of five or six inches 
diameter, and drags it almost down to the shoulder. This 
decoration is esteemed to be excessively gay and becoming. 

It is also a common custom among them to bore their 

t 151 ] 

noses, and wear in them pendants of different sorts. I ob- 
served that sea shells were much worn by those of the in- 
terior parts, and reckoned very ornamental ; but how they 
procured them I could not learn : probably by their traffick 
with other nations nearer the sea. 

They go without any covering for the thigh, except that 
before spoken of, round the middle, which reaches down 
half way the thighs ; but they make for their legs a sort of 
stocking either of skins or cloth : these are sewed as near 
to the shape of the leg as possible, so as to admit of being 
drawn on and off. The edges of the stuff of which they are 
composed are left annexed to the seam, and hang loose for 
about the breadth of a hand : and this part, which is placed 
on the outside of the leg, is generally ornamented by those 
who have any communication with Europeans, if of cloth, 
with ribands or lace, if of leather, with embroidery and 
porcupine quills curiously coloured. Strangers who hunt 
among the Indians in the parts where there is a great deal 
of snow, find these stockings much more convenient than 
any others. 

Their shoes are made of the skin of the deer, elk, or 
buffalo : these, after being sometimes dressed according to 
the European manner, at others with the hair remaining on 
them, are cut into shoes, and fashioned so as to be easy to 
the feet, and convenient for walking. The edges round the 
ancle are decorated with pieces of brass or tin fixed around 
leather strings, about an inch long, which being placed 
very thick make a cheerful tinkling noise either when they 
walk or dance. 

The women wear a covering of some kind or other from 
the neck to the knees. Those who trade with the Euro- 
peans wear a linen garment the same as that used by the 
men ; the flaps of which hang over the petticoat. Such as 
dress after their ancient manner, make a kind of shift with 
leather, which covers the body but not the arms. Their 

[ 152 ] 

petticoats are made either of leather or cloth, and reach 
from the waist to the knee. On their legs they wear stock- 
ings and shoes, made and ornamented as those of the men. 

They differ from each other in the mode of dressing their 
heads, each following the custom of the nation or band to 
which they belong, and adhering to the form made use of 
by their ancestors from time immemorial. 

I remarked that most of the females, who dwell on the 
east side of the Mississippi, decorate their heads by in- 
closing their hair either in ribands, or in plates of silver ; 
the latter is only made use of by the higher ranks, as it is 
a costly ornament. The silver they use on this occasion is 
formed into thin plates of about four inches broad, in several 
of which they confine their hair. That plate which is 
nearest the head is of a considerable width ; the next nar- 
rower, and made so as to pass a little way under the other, 
and in this manner they fasten into each other, and, gradu- 
ally tapering, descend to the waist, as represented in plate 
No. II. The hair of the Indian women being in general 
very long, this proves an expensive method. 

But the women that live to the west of the Mississippi, 
viz. the Naudowessies, the Assinipoils, &c. divide their 
hair in the middle of the head, and form it into two rolls, 
one against each ear. These rolls are about three inches 
long, and as large as their wrists. They hang in a per- 
pendicular attitude at the front of each ear, and descend as 
far as the lower part of it. A more explicit idea may be 
formed of this mode by referring to plate III. 

The women of every nation generally place a spot of 
paint, about the size of a crown-piece, against each ear : 
some of them put paint on their hair, and sometimes a small 
spot in the middle of the forehead. 

The Indians, in general, pay a greater attention to their 
dress and to the ornaments with which they decorate their 
persons, than to the accommodation of their huts or tents. 

[ 153 ] 

They construct the latter in the following simple and ex- 
pedition < manner. 

Being provided with poles of a proper length, they fasten 
two of them across, near their ends, with bands made of 
bark. Having done this, they raise them up, and extend 
the bottom of each as wide as they purpose to make the 
area of the tent : they then erect others of an equal height, 
and fix them so as to support the two principal ones. On 
the whole they lay skins of the elk or deer, sewed together, 
in quantity sufficient to cover the poles, and by lapping 
over to form the door. A great number of skins are some- 
times required for this purpose, as some of their tents are 
very capacious. That of the chief warrior of the Nau- 
dovvessies was at least forty feet in circumference, and very 

They observe no regularity in fixing their tents when 
they encamp, but place them just as it suits their con- 

The huts also, which those who use not tents, erect when 
they travel, for very few tribes have fixed abodes or regular 
towns or villages, are equally simple, and almost as soon 

They fix small pliable poles in the ground, and bending 
them till they meet at the top and form a semi-circle, then 
lash them together. These they cover with mats made of 
rushes platted, or with birch bark, which they carry with 
them in their canoes for this purpose. 

These cabins have neither chimnies nor windows ; there 
is only a small aperture left in the middle of the roofs 
through which the smoke is discharged, but as this is 
obliged to be stopped up when it rains or snows violently, 
the smoke then proves exceedingly troublesome. 

They lie on skins, generally those of the bear, which are 
placed in rows on the ground ; and if the floor is not large 
enough to contain beds sufficient for the accommodation of 



[ 154 ] 

the whole family, a frame is erected about four or five feet 
from the ground, in whi ih the younger part of it sleep. 

As the habitations of the Indians are thus rude, their 
domestic utensils are few in number, and plain in their 
formation. The tools wherewith they fashion them are so 
aukward and defective, that it is not onl . impossible to 
form them with anv decree of neatness or elegance, but 
the time required in the execution is so considerable, as to 
deter them from engaging in the manufacture of such as 
are not absolutely necessary. 

The Naudowessies make the pots in which they boil 
their victuals of the black clay or stone mentioned in my 
Journal; which resists the effects of the fire nearly as well 
as iron. When they roast, if it is a large joint or a whole 
animal, such as a beaver, they fix it as Europeans do, on a 
spit made of a hard wood, and placing the ends on two 
forked props, now and then turn it. If the piece is smaller 
they spit it as before, and fixing the spit in an erect but 
slanting position, with the meat inclining towards the fire, 
frequently change the sides, till every part is sufficiently 

They make their dishes in which they serve up their 
meat, and their bowls and pans, out of the knotty excres- 
cences of the maple tree, or any other wood. They fash- 
ion their spoons with a tolerable degree of neatness (as 
these require much less trouble than larger utensils) from 
a wood that is termed in America Spoon Wood, and which 
greatly resembles box wood. 

Every tribe are now possessed of knives, and steels to 
strike fire with. These being so essentially needful for the 
common uses of life, those who have not an immediate 
communication with the European traders, purchase them 
of such of their neighbours as are situated nearer the set- 
tlements, and generally give in exchange for them slaves. 

[ 155 ] 

Of their Manners, Qualifications, <^c. ' 

When the Indian women sit down, they place them- 
selves in a decent attitude, with their knees close together,' 
but from being accustomed to this posture, they walk badly, 
and appear to be lame. 

They have no midwives amongst them, their climate, or 
some peculiar happiness in their constitutions, rendering 
any assistance at that time unnecessary. On these occa- 
sions they are confined but a few hours from their usual 
employments, which are commonly very laborious, as the 
men, who are remarkably indolent, leave to them every 
kind of drugery : even in their hunting parties the former 
will not deign to bring home the game, but send their 
wives for it, though it lies at a very considerable distance. 

The women place their children soon after they are born 
on boards stuffed with soft moss, such as is found in mo- 
rasses or meadows. The chi!d is laid on its back in one of 
these kind of cradles, and, being wrapped in skins or cloth 
to keep it warm, is secured in it by small bent pieces of 

To these machines they fasten strings, by which they 
hang them to branches of trees; or if they find not trees at 
hand, fasten them to a stump or stone, whilst they transact 
any needful business. In this position are the children 
kept for some months. When they are taken out, the boys 
are suffered to go naked, and the girls are covered from 
the neck to the knees with a shift and a short petticoat. 

The Indian women are remarkably decent during their 
menstrual illness. Those nations that are most remote 
from the European settlements, as the Xaudowessies, &c. 

[ 156 ] 

are more particularly attentive to this point ; though they 
all without exception adhere in some degree to the same 

In every camp or town there is an apartment appropri- 
ated for their retirement at this time, to which both single 
and married retreat, and seclude themselves with the ut- 
most strictness during this period from all society. After- 
wards they purify themselves in running streams, and 
return to their different employments. 

The men on these occasions most carefully avoid hold- 
ing any communication with them ; and the Naudowessies 
are so rigid in tins observance, that they will not suffer any 
belonging to them to fetch such things as are necessary, 
even fire, from these female lunar retreats, though the want 
of them is attended with the greatest inconvenience. They 
are also so superstitious as to think, if a pipe stem cracks, 
which among them is made of wood, that the possessor has 
either lighted it at one of these polluted fires, or held some 
converse with a woman during her retirement, which is 
esteemed by them most disgraceful and wicked. 

The Indians are extremely circumspect and deliberate 
in every word and action ; there is nothing that hurries 
them into any intemperate warmth, but that inveteracy to 
their enemies which is rooted in every Indian heart, and 
never can be eradicated. In all other instances they are 
cool, and remarkably cautious, taking care not to betray 
on any account whatever their emotions. If an Indian has 
discovered that a friend is in danger of being intercepted 
and cut off by one to whom he has rendered himself ob- 
noxious, he does not inform him in plain and explicit terms 
of the danger he runs by pursuing the track near which his 
enemy lies in wait for him, but he first coolly asks him 
which way he is going that day ; and having received his 
answer, with the same indifference tells him that he has 
been informed that a dog lies near the spot, which might 

[ 157 ] 

probably do him a mischief. This hint proves sufficisnt ; 
and his friend avoids the danger with as much caution as 
if every design and motion of his enemy had been pointed 
out to him. 

This apathy often shews itself on occasions that would 
call forth all the fervour of a susceptible heart. If an In- 
dian has been absent from his family and friends many 
months, either on a war or hunting party, when his wife 
and children meet him at some distance from his habita- 
tion, instead of the affectionate sensations that would natu- 
rally arise in the breast of more refined beings, and be 
productive of mutual congratulations, he continues his 
course without paying the least attention to those who 
surround him, till he arrives at his home. 

He there sits down, and with the same unconcern as if 
he had not been absent a day, smokes his pipe ; those of 
his acquaintance who have followed him, do the same ; and 
perhaps it is several hours before he relates to them the 
incidents which have befallen him during his absence, 
though perhaps he has left a father, brother, or son on the 
field whose loss he ought to have lamented, or has been un- 
successful in the undertaking that called him from his home. 

Has an Indian been engaged for several days in the 
chace, or on any other laborious expedition, and by acci- 
dent continued thus long without food, when he arrives at 
the hut or tent of a friend where he knows his wants may 
be immediately supplied, he takes care not to show the 
least symptoms of impatience, or to betray the extreme 
hunger by which he is tortured ; but on being invited in, 
sits contentedly down, and smokes his pipe with as much 
composure as if every appetite was allayed, and he was 
perfectly at ease ; he does the same if among strangers. 
This custom is strictly adhered to by every tribe, as they 
esteem it a proof of fortitude, and think the reverse would 
intitle them to the appellation of old women. 

[ 158 ] 

If you tell an Indian that his children have greatly sig- 
nalized themselves against an enemy, have taken many 
scalps, and brought home many prisoners, he does not ap- 
pear to feel any extraordinary pleasure on the occasion ; 
his answer generally is, "It is well," and he makes very 
little further enquiry about. On the contrary, if you in- 
form him that his children are slain or taken prisoners, he 
makes no complaints, he only replies, "It does not signify ;" 
and probably, for some time at least, asks not how it 

This seeming indifference, however, does not proceed 
from an entire suppression of the natural affections; for 
notwithstanding they are esteemed savages, I never saw 
among any other people greater proofs of parental or filial 
tenderness ; and although thev meet their wives after a lon2 
absence with the stoical indifference just mentioned, they 
are not in general void of conjugal affection. 

Another peculiarity is observable in their manner of 
paying their visits. If an Indian goes to visit a particular 
person in a family, he mentions to whom his visit is in- 
tended, and the rest of the family immediately retiring to 
the other end of the hut or tent are careful not to come 
near enough to interrupt them during the whole of the 
conversation. The same method is pursued if a man goes 
to pay his respects to one of the other sex ; but then he 
must be careful not to let love be the subject of his dis- 
course whilst the daylight remains. 

The Indians discover an amazing sagacity, and acquire 
w 7 ith the greatest readiness any thing that depends upon 
the attention of the mind. By experience and an acute ob- 
servation, they attain many perfections to which Europeans 
are strangers. For instance, they will cross a forest or a 
plain which is two hundred miles in breadth, and reach 
with great exactness the point at which they intend to ar- 
rive, keeping during the whole of that space in a direct 

[ 159 ] 

line, without any material deviations ; and this they will do 
with the same e.'se, whether the weather be fair or cloudy. 

With equal acuteness will they point to that part of the 
heavens the sun is in, though it be intercepted by clouds or 
fogs. Besides this, they are able to pursue with incredible 
facility the traces of man or beast, either on leaves or grass ; 
and on this account it is with great difficulty a flying en- 
emy escapes discovery. 

They are indebted for these talents not only to nature, 
but to an extraordinary command of the intellectual facul- 
ties, which can only be acquired by an unremitted atten- 
tion, and by long experience. 

They are in general very happy in a retentive memory ; 
*hey can recapitulate every particular that has been treated 
of in council, and remember the exact time when these 
were held. Their belts of wampum preserve the substance 
of the treaties they have concluded w'th the neighbouring 
tribes for ages back, to which they will appeal, and refer 
with as much perspicuity and readiness as Europeans can 
to their written records. 

Every nation pays great respect to old age. The ad- 
vice of a father will seldom meet with any extraordinary 
attention from the young Indians, probably they receive it 
with only a bare assent; but they will tremble before a 
grandfather, and submit to his injunctions with the utmost 
alacrity. The words of the ancient part of their commu- 
nity are esteemed by the young as oracles. If they take 
during their hunting parties any game that is reckoned by 
them uncommonly delicious, it is immediately presented to 
the oldest of their relations. 

They never suffer themselves to be overburdened with 
care, but live in a state of perfect tranquillity and content- 
ment. Being naturally indolent, if provision just sufficient 
for their subsistence can be procured with little trouble, 
and near at hand, they will not go far, or take any extraor- 

t 160 J 

dinary pains for it, though by so doing they might acquire 
greater plenty and of a more estimable kind. 

Having much leisure time they indulge this indolence to 
which they are so prone, by eating, drinking, or sleeping, 
and rambling about in their towns or camps. But when 
necessity obliges them to take the field, either to oppose an 
enemy, or to procure themselves food, they are alert and 
indefatigable. Many instances of their activity on these 
occasions will be given when I treat of their wars. 

The infatuating spirit of gaming is not confined to Eu- 
rope ; the Indians also feel the bewitching impulse, and 
often lose their arms, their apparel, and every thing they 
are possessed of. In this case, however, they do not follow 
the example of more refined gamesters, for they neither 
murmur nor repine ; not a fretful word escapes them, but 
they bear the frowns of fortune with a philosophic composure. 

The greatest blemish in their character is that savage 
disposition which impels them to treat their enemies with a 
severity every other nation shudders at. But if they are 
thus barbarous to those with whom they are at war, they 
are friendly, hospitable, and humane in peace. It may with 
truth be said of them, that they are the worst enemies, and 
the best friends, of any people in the whole w r orld. 

The Indians in general are strangers to the passion of 
jealousy ; and brand a man with folly that is distrustful of 
his wife. Among some bands the very idea is not known ; 
as the most abandoned of their young men very rarely at- 
tempt the virtue of married women, nor do these often put 
themselves in the way of solicitation. Yet the Indian 
women in general are of an amorous temperature, and be- 
fore they are married are not the less esteemed for the in- 
dulgence of their passions. 

Whilst I was among the Naudowessies I observed that 
they paid uncommon respect to one of their women, and 
found on enquiry that she was intitled to it on account of 

[ 161 ] 

a transaction, that in Europe would have rendered her 

They told me that when she was a young woman, for at 
the time I saw her she was far advanced in life, she had 
given what they termed a rice feast. According to an 
ancient but almost obsolete custom (which, as Hamlet says, 
would have been more honoured in the breach, than the 
observance) she invited forty of the principal warriors to 
her tent, where having feasted them with rice and venison, 
she by turns regaled each of them with a private desert, 
behind a screen fixed for this purpose in the inner part of 
the tent. 

She had the happiness to obtain by this profusion of 
courtesy, the favour of her guests, and the approbation of 
the whole band. So sensible was the young Indians of her 
extraordinary merit, that they vied with each other for her 
hand, and in a very short time one of the principal chiefs 
took her to wife, over whom she acquired great sway, and 
from whom she received ever after incessant tokens of re- 
spect and love. 

It is however scarcely once in an age that any of the 
females are hardy enough to make this feast, notwithstand- 
ing a husband of the first rank awaits as a sure reward the 
successful giver of it ; and the custom, I since find, is pe- 
culiar to the Naudowessies. 

The Indians in their common state are strangers to all 
distinction of property, except in the articles of domestic 
use, which every one considers as his own, and increases 
as circumstances admit. They are extremely liberal to 
each other, and supply the deficiency of their friends with 
any superfluity of their own. 

In dangers they readily give assistance to those of their 
band who stand in need of it, without any expectation of 
return, except of those just rewards that are always con- 
ferred by the Indians on merit. Governed by the plain 


[ 162 ] 

and equitable laws of nature, every one is rewarded solely 
according to his deserts ; and their equality of condition, 
manners, and privileges, with that constant and sociable 
familiarity which prevails throughout every Indian nation, 
animates them with a pure and truly patriotic spirit, that 
tends to the general good of the society to which they 

If any of their neighbours are bereaved by death or by 
an enemy of their children, those who are possessed of the 
greatest number of slaves, supply the deficiency ; and these 
are adopted by them and treated in every respect as if they 
really were the children of the person to whom they are 

The Indians, except those who live adjoining to the Eu- 
ropean colonies, can form to themselves no idea of the value 
of money ; they consider it, when they are made acquainted 
with the uses to which it is applied by other nations, as the 
source of innumerable evils. To it they attribute all the 
mischiefs that are prevalent among Europeans, such as 
treachery, plundering, devastations, and murder. 

They esteem it irrational that one man should be pos- 
sessed of a greater quantity than another, and are amazed 
that any honour should be annexed to the possession of it. 
But that the want of this useless metal should be the cause 
of depriving persons of their liberty, and that on account 
of this partial distribution of it, great numbers should be 
immured within the dreary walls of a prison, cut off from 
that society of which they constitute a part, exceeds their 
belief. Nor do they fail, on hearing this part of the Eu- 
ropean system of government related, to charge the in- 
stitutors of it with a total want of humanity, and to brand 
them with the names of savages and brutes. 

They shew almost an equal degree of indifference for the 
productions of art. When any of these are shewn them, 
they say, " It is pretty, I like to look at it," but are not 

[ 1^3 ] 

inquisitive about the construction of it, neither can they 
form proper conceptions of its use. But if you tell them of 
a person who is able to run with great agility, that is well 
skilled in hunting, can direct with unerring aim a gun, or 
bend with ease a bow, that can dexterously work a canoe, 
understands the art of war, is acquainted with the situation 
of a country, and can make his way without a guide 
through an immense forest, subsisting during this on a small 
quantity of provisions, they are in raptures ; they listen 
with great attention to the pleasing tale, and bestow the 
highest commendations on the hero of it. 


The Method of reckoning Time, fyc. 

Considering their ignorance of astronomy, time is very 
rationally divided by the Indians. Those in the interior 
parts (and of those I would generally be understood to 
speak) count their years by winters ; or, as they express 
themselves, by snows. 

Some nations among them reckon their years by moons, 
and make them consist of twelve synodical or lunar months, 
observing, when thirty moons have waned, to add a super- 
numerary one, which they term the lost moon ; and then 
begin to count as before. They pay a great regard to the 
first appearance of every moon, and on the occasion always 
repeat some joyful sounds, stretching at the same time their 
hands towards it. 

Every month has with them a name expressive of its 
seasons ; for instance, they call the month of March (in 
which their year generally begins at the first New Moon 
after the vernal Equinox) the Worm Month or Moon ; be- 
cause at this time the worms quit their retreats in the bark 

[ 164 ] 

of the trees, wood, &c. where they have sheltered them- 
selves during the winter. 

The month of April is termed by them the month of 
Plants. May, the Month of Flowers. June, the Hot 
Mooon. July, the Buck Moon. Their reason for thus de- 
nominating these is obvious. 

August, the Sturgeon Moon ; because in this month they 
catch great numbers of that fish. 

September, the Corn Moon ; because in that month they 
gather in their Indian corn. 

October, the Travelling Moon ; as they leave at this 
time their villages, and travel towards the places where 
they intend to hunt during the winter. 

November, the Beaver Moon ; for in this month the 
beavers begin to take shelter in their houses, having laid up 
a sufficient store of provisions for the winter season. 

December, the Hunting Moon, because they employ this 
month in pursuit of their game. 

January, the Cold Moon, as it generally freezes harder, 
and the cold is more intense in this than in any other 

February they call the Snow Moon, because more snow 
commonly falls during this month, than any other in the 

When the moon does not shine they say the moon is 
dead; and some call the three last days of it the naked 
days. The moon's first appearance they term its coming 
to life again. 

They make no division of weeks ; but days they count 
by sleeps ; half days by pointing to the sun at noon; and 
quarters by the rising and the setting of the sun : to express 
which in their traditions they make use of very significant 

The Indians are totally unskilled in geography as well as 
all the other sciences, and yet, as I have before hinted, they 

[ 165 ] 

draw on their birch bark very exact charts or maps of the 
countries with which they are acquainted. The latitude 
and longitude is only wanting to make them tolerably 

Their sole knowledge in astronomy consists in being able 
to point out the pole-star ; by which they regulate their 
course when they travel in the night. 

They reckon the distance of places, not by miles or 
leagues, but by a day's journey, which, according to the 
best calculations I could make, appears to be about twenty 
English miles. These they also divide into halves and 
quarters, and will demonstrate them in their maps with 
great exactness, by the hieroglyphicks just mentioned, 
when they regulate in council their war parties, or their 
most distant hunting excursions. 

They have no idea of arithmetic ; and though they are 
able to count to any number, figures as well as letters ap- 
pear mysterious to them, and above their comprehension. 

During my abode with the Naudowessies, some of the 
chiefs observing one day a draft of an eclipse of the moon, 
in a book of astronomy which I held in my hand, they de- 
sired I would permit them to look at it. Happening to 
give them the book shut, they began to count the leaves 
till they came to the place in which the plate was. After 
they had viewed it, and asked many questions relative to 
it, I told them they needed not to have taken so much 
pains to find the leaf on which it was drawn, for I could 
not only tell in an instant the place, without counting the 
leaves, but also how many preceded it. 

They seemed greatly amazed at my assertion, and beg- 
ged that I would demonstrate to them the possibility of 
doing it. To this purpose I desired the chief that held the 
book, to open it at any particular place, and just shewing 
me the page carefully to conceal the edges of the leaves, so 
that I might not be able to count them. 

[ 166 ] 

This he did with the greatest caution ; notwithstanding 
which, by looking at the folio, I told him, to his great sur- 
prize, the number of leaves. He counted them regularly 
over, and discovered that I was exact. And when, after 
repeated trials, the Indians found I could do it with great 
readiness, and without ever erring in my calculation, they 
all seemed as much astonished as if I had raised the dead. 
The only way they could account for my knowledge, was 
by concluding that the book was a spirit, and whispered 
me answers to whatever I demanded of it. 

This circumstance, trifling as it might appear to those 
who are less illiterate, contributed to increase my conse- 
quence, and to augment the favourable opinion they already 
entertained of me. 

Of their Government, fyc. 

Every separate body of Indians is divided into bands or 
tribes; which band or tribe forms a little community with 
the nation to which it belongs. As the nation has some 
particular symbol by which it is distinguished from others, 
so each tribe has a badge from which it is denominated : as 
that of the Eagle, the Panther, the Tiger, the Buffalo, &c. 
&c. One band of the Naudowessie is represented by a 
Snake, another a Tortoise, a third a Squirrel, a fourth a 
Wolf, and a fifth a Buffalo. Throughout every nation 
they particularize themselves in the same manner, and the 
meanest person among them will remember his lineal de- 
scent, and distinguish himself by his respective family. 

Did not many circumstances tend to confute the sup- 
position, I should be almost induced to conclude from this 
distinction of tribes, and the particular attachment of the 

t 167 ] 

Indians to them, that they derive their origin, as some have 
asserted, from the Israelites. 

Besides this, every nation distinguish themselves by the 
manner of constructing their tents or huts. And so well 
versed are all the Indians in this distinction, that though 
there appears to be no difference on the nicest observation 
made by an European, yet they will immediately discover, 
from the position of a pole left in the ground, what nation 
has encamped on the spot many months before. 

Every band has a chief who is termed the Great Chief 
or the chief Warrior ; and who is chosen in consideration 
of his experience in war, and of his approved valour, to 
direct their military operations, and to regulate all con- 
cerns belonging to that department. But this chief is not 
considered as the head of the state ; besides the great war- 
rior who is elected for his warlike qualifications, there is 
another who enjoys a pre-eminence as his hereditary right, 
and has the more immediate management of their civil 
affairs. This chief might with greater propriety be de- 
nominated the Sachem ; whose assent is necessarv in all 
conveyances and treaties, to which he affixes the mark of 
the tribe or nation. 

Though these two are considered as the heads of the 
band, and the latter is usually denominated their king, yet 
the Indians are sensible of neither civil or military subordi- 
nation. As every one of them entertains a high opinion of 
his consequence, and is extremely tenacious of his liberty, 
all injunctions that carry with them the appearance of a 
positive command, are instantly rejected with scorn. 

On this account, it is seldom that their leaders are so in- 
discreet as to give out any of their orders in a peremptory 
stile ; a bare hint from a chief that he thinks such a thing 
necessary to be done, instantly arouses an emulation among 
the inferior ranks, and it is immediately executed with 
great alacrity. By this method the disgustful part of the 

[ 168 ] 

command is evaded, and an authority that falls little short 
of absolute sway instituted in its room. 

Among the Indians no visible form of government is 
established ; they allow of no such distinction as magistrate 
and subject, every one appearing to enjoy an independence 
that cannot be controlled. The object of government 
among them is rather foreign than domestic, for their atten- 
tion seems more to be employed in preserving such an 
union among the members of their tribe as will enable 
them to watch the motions of their enemies, and to act 
against them with concert and vigour, than to maintain in- 
terior order by any public regulations. If a scheme that 
appears to be of service to the community is proposed by 
the chief, every one is at liberty to chuse whether he will 
assist in carrying it on ; for they have no compulsory laws 
that lay them under any restrictions. If violence is com- 
mitted, or blood is shed, the right of revenging these mis- 
demeanours are left to the family of the injured ; the chiefs 
assume neither the power of inflicting or moderating the 

Some nations, where the dignity is hereditary, limit the 
succession to the female line. On the death of a chief, his 
sister's son sometimes succeeds him in preference to his 
own son ; and if he happens to have no sister, the nearest 
female relation assumes the dignity. This accounts for a 
woman being at the head of the Winnebagoe nation, which, 
before I was acquainted with their laws, appeared strange 
to me. 

Each family has a right to appoint one of its chiefs to be 
an assistant to the principal chief, who watches over the 
interest of his family, and without whose consent nothing 
of a public nature can be carried into execution. These 
are generally chosen for their ability in speaking; and such 
only are permitted to make orations in their councils and 
general assemblies. 

[ 169 ] 

In this body, with the hereditary chief at its head, the 
supreme authority appears to be lodged ; as by its deter- 
mination every transaction relative to their hunting, to 
their making war or peace, and to all their public concerns 
are regulated. Next to these, the body of warriors, which 
comprehends all that are able to bear arms, hold their rank. 
This division has sometimes at its head the chief of the 
nation, if he has signalized himself by any renowned action, 
if not, some chief that has rendered himself famous. 

In their councils which are held by the foregoing mem- 
bers, every affair of consequence is debated ; and no enter- 
prize of the least moment undertaken, unless it there meets 
with the general approbation of the chiefs. They com- 
monly assemble in a hut or tent appropriated to this pur- 
pose, and being seated in a circle on the ground, the eldest 
chief rises and makes a speech ; when he has concluded, 
another gets up ; and thus they all speak, if necessary, by 

On this occasion their language is nervous, and their 
manner of expression, emphalical. Their style is adorned 
with images, comparisons, and strong metaphors, and is 
equal in allegories to that of any of the eastern nations. 
In all their set speeches they express themselves with 
much vehemence, but in common discourse according to 
our usual method of speech. 

The young men are suffered to be present at the coun- 
cils, though they are not allowed to make a speech till they 
are regularly admitted: they however listen with great 
attention, and to shew that they both understand, and ap- 
prove of the resolutions taken by the assembled chiefs, they 
frequently exclaim, " That is right." " That is good." 

The customary mode among all the ranks of expressing 
their assent, and which they repeat at the end of almost 
every period, is by uttering a kind of forcible aspiration, 
which sounds like an union of the letters OAH. 


[ 170 ] 

Of their Feasts. 

Many of the Indian nations neither make use of bread, 
salt, or spices ; and some of them have never seen or tasted 
of either. The Naudowessies in particular have no bread, 
nor any substitute for it. They eat the wild rice which 
grows in great quantities in different parts of their territo- 
ries ; but they boil it and eat it alone. They also eat the 
flesh of the beasts they kill, without having recourse to any 
farinaceous substance to absorb the grosser particles of it. 
And even when they consume the sugar which they have 
extracted from the maple tree, they use it not to render 
some other food palatable, but generally eat it by itself. 

Neither have they any idea of the use of milk, although 
they might collect great quantities from the buffalo or the 
elk ; they only consider it as proper for the nutriment of 
the young of these beasts during their tender state. I 
could not perceive that any inconveniency attended the 
total disuse of articles esteemed so necessary and nutri- 
tious by other nations, on the contrary, they are in general 
healthy and vigorous. 

One dish however, which answers nearly the same pur- 
pose as bread, is in use among the Ottagaumies, the Sau- 
kies, and the more eastern nations, where Indian corn 
grows, which is not only much esteemed by them, but it is 
reckoned extremely palatable by all the Europeans who 
enter their dominions. This is composed of their unripe 
corn as before described, and beans in the same state, 
boiled together with bears flesh, the fat of which moistens 
the pulse, and renders it beyond comparison delicious. 
They call this food Succatosh. 

[ 171 ] 

The Indians are far from being canibals, as they are said 
to be. All their victuals are either roasted or boiled ; and 
this in the extreme. Their drink is generally the broth in 
which it has been boiled. 

Their food consists of the flesh of the bear, the buffalo, 
the elk, the deer, the beaver, and the racoon ; which they 
prepare in the manner just mentioned. They usually eat 
the flesh of the deer which is naturally dry, with that of 
the bear which is fat and juicy ; and though the latter is 
extremely rich and luscious, it is never known to cloy. 

In the spring of the year the Naudowessies eat the inside 
bark of a shrub, that they gather in some part of their 
country ; but I could neither learn the name of it, or dis- 
cover from whence thev got it. It was of a brittle nature 
and easily masticated. The taste of it was very agreeable, 
and they said it was extremely nourishing. In flavour it 
was not unlike the turnip, and when received into the 
mouth resembled that root both in its pulpous and frangible 

The lower ranks of the Indians are exceedingly nasty in 
dressing their victuals, but some of the chiefs are very neat 
and cleanly in their apparel, tents, and food. 

They commonly eat in large parties, so that their meals 
may properly be termed feasts ; and this they do without 
being restricted to any fixed or regular hours, but just as 
their appetites require, and convenience suits. 

They usually dance either before or after every meal ; 
and by this cheerfulness probably render the Great Spirit, 
to whom they consider themselves as indebted for every 
good, a more acceptable sacrifice than a formal and 
unanimated thanksgiving. The men and women feast 
apart: and each sex invite by turns their companions to 
partake with them of the food they happen to have; but in 
their domestic way of living the men and women eat to 

[ 172 ] 

No people are more hospitable, kind, and free than the 
Indians. They will readily share with any of their own 
tribe the last part of their provisions, and even with those 
of a different nation, if they chance to come in when they 
are eating. Though they do not keep one common stock, 
yet that community of goods which is so prevalent among 
them, and their generous disposition, render it nearly of the 
same effect. 

When the chiefs are convened on any public business, 
they always conclude with a feast, at which their festivity 
and cheerfulness knows no limits. 

Of their Dances. 

Dancing is a favourite exercise among the Indians; 
they never meet on any public occasion, but this makes a 
part of the entertainment. And when they are not en- 
gaged in war or hunting, the youth of both sexes amuse 
themselves in this manner every evening. 

They always dance, as I have just observed, at their 
feast. In these as well as all their other dances, every 
man rises in his turn, and moves about with great freedom 
and boldness ; singing as he does so, the exploits of his 
ancestors. During tins the company, who are seated on 
the ground in a circle, around the dancer, join with him in 
marking the cadence, by an odd tone, which they utter all 
together, and which sounds, " Heh, heh, heh." These 
notes, if they might be so termed, are articulated with a 
harsh accent, and strained out with the utmost force of 
their lungs ; so that one would imagine their strength must 
be soon exhausted by it ; instead of which, they repeat it 

[ 173 ] 

with the same violence during the whole of their enter- 

The women, particularly those of the western nations, 
dance very gracefully. They carry themselves erect, and 
with their arms hanging down close to their sides, move 
first a few yards to the right, and then back again to the 
left. This movement they perform without taking any 
steps as an European would do, but with their feet con- 
joined, moving by turns their toes and heels. In this man- 
ner they glide with great agility to a certain distance, and 
then return; and let those who join in the dance be ever 
so numerous, they keep time so exactly with each other 
that no interruption ensues. During this, at stated periods 
they mingle their shrill voices with the hoarser ones of the 
men who sit around (for it is to be observed that the sexes 
never intermix in the same dance) which, with the music 
of the drums and chichicoues, make an agreeable harmony. 

The Indians have several kinds of dances which they 
use on different occasions, as the Pipe orCalumate Dance, 
the War Dance, the Marriage Dance, and the Dance of the 
Sacrifice. The movements in every one of these are dis- 
similar ; but it is almost impossible to convey any idea of 
the points in which they are unlike. 

Different nations likewise vary in their manner of dan- 
cing. The Chipeways throw themselves into a greater 
variety of attitudes than any other people ; sometimes they 
hold their heads erect, at others they bend them almost to 
the ground ; then recline on one side, and immediately 
after on the other. The Naudowessies carry themselves 
more upright, step firmer, and move more gracefully. But 
they all accompany their dances with the disagreeable 
noise just mentioned. 

The Pipe Dance is the principal, and the most pleasing 
to a spectator of any of them, being the least frantic, and 
the movement of it the most graceful. It is but on par- 

[ 174 ] 

ticular occasions that it is used ; as when ambassadors 
from an enemy arrive to treat of pence, or when strangers 
of eminence pass through their territories. 

The War Dance, which they use both before they set , 
out on their war parties, and on their return from them, 
strikes terror into strangers. It is performed, as the others, 
amidst a circle of the warriors; a chief generally begins it, 
who moves from the right to the left, singing at the same 
time both his own exploits, and those of his ancestors. 
When he has concluded his account of any memorable 
action, he gives a violent blow with his war-club against a 
post that is fixed in the ground, near the center of the 
assembly, for this purpose. 

Every one dances in his turn, and recapitulates the 
wondrous deeds of his family, till they all at last join in 
the dance. Then it becomes truly alarming to any stran- 
ger that happens to be among them, as they throw them- 
selves into every horrible and terrifying posture that can 
be imagined, rehearsing at the same time the parts they 
expect to act against their enemies in the field. During 
this they hold their sharp knives in their hands, with which, 
as they whirl about, they are every moment in danger of 
cutting each others throats ; and did they not shun the 
threatened mischief with inconceivable dexterity, it could 
not be avoided. By these motions they intend to repre- 
sent the manner in which they kill, scalp, and take their 
prisoners. To heighten the scene, they set up the same 
hideous yells, cries, and war-hoops they use in time of 
action: so that it is impossible to consider them in any 
other light than as an assembly of demons. 

I have frequently joined in this dance with them, but it 
soon ceased to be an amusement to me, as I could not lay 
aside my apprehensions of receiving some dreadful wound, 
that from the violence of their gestures must have proved 

[ m ] 

I found that the nations to the westward of the Missis- 
sippi, and on the borders of Lake Superior, still continue to 
make use of the Pawwaw or Black Dance. The people 
of the colonies tell a thousand ridiculous stories of the devil 
being raised in this dance by the Indians. But they allow 
that this was in former times, and is now nearly extinct 
among those who live adjacent to the European settle- 
ments. However J discovered that it was still used in the 
interior parts; and though I did not actually see the devil 
raised by it, I was witness to some scenes that could only 
be performed by such as dealt with him, or were very ex- 
pert and dextrous jugglers. 

Whilst I was among the Naudowessies, a dance, which 
they thus termed, was performed. Before the dance began, 
one of the Indians was admitted into a society which they 
denominated Wakon-Kitchewah, that is, the Friendly So- 
ciety of the Spirit. This society is composed of persons 
of both sexes, but such only can be admitted into it as are 
of unexceptionable character, and who receive the appro- 
bation of the whole body. To this admission succeeded 
the Pawwaw Dance (in which I saw nothing that could 
give rise to the reports I had heard) and the whole, accord- 
ing to their usual custom, concluded with a grand feast. 

The initiation being attended with some very singular 
circumstances, which, as I have before observed, must be 
either the effect of magic, or of amazing dexterity, I shall 
give a particular account of the whole procedure. It was 
performed at the time of the new moon, in a place appro- 
priated to the purpose near the centre of their camp, that 
would contain about two hundred people. Being a stranger, 
and on all occasions treated by them with great civility, I 
was invited to see the ceremony, and placed close to the 
rails of the inclosure. 

About twelve o'clock they began to assemble; when the 
sun shome bright, which they considered as a good omen, 

[ 176 ] 

for they never by choice hold any of their public meetings 
unless the sky be clear and unclouded. A great number 
of chiefs first appeared, who were dressed in their best ap- 
parel ; and after them came the head-warrior, clad in a 
long robe of rich furs that trailed on the ground, attended 
by a retinue of fifteen or twenty persons, painted and 
dressed in the gayest manner. Next followed the wives 
of such as had been already admitted into the society ; and 
in the rear a confused heap of the lower ranks, all contrib- 
uting as much as lay in their power to make the appearance 
grand and showy. 

When the assembly was seated, and silence proclaimed, 
one of the principal chiefs arose, and in a short but masterly 
speech informed his audience of the occasion of their meet- 
ing. He acquainted them that one of their young men 
wished to be admitted into their society ; and taking him 
by the hand presented him to their view, asking them, at the 
same time, whether they had any objection to his becoming 
one of their community. 

No objection being made, the young candidate was placed 
in the centre, and four of the chiefs took their stations close 
to him ; after exhorting him, by turns, not to faint under 
the operation he was about to go through, but to behave 
like an Indian and a man, two of them took hold of his 
arms, and caused him to kneel ; another placed himself be- 
hind him so as to receive him when he fell, and the last of 
the four retired to the distance of about twelve feet from 
him exactly in front. 

This disposition being completed, the chief that stood be- 
fore the kneeling candidate, began to speak to him with an 
audible voice. He told him that he himself was now agi- 
tated by the same spirit which he should in a few moments 
communicate to him; that it would strike him dead, but 
that he would instantly be restored again to life ; to this he 
added, that the communication, however terrifying, was 

f 177 ] 

a necessary introduction to the advantages enjoyed by the 
community into which he was on the point of being admitted. 

As he spoke this, he appeared to be greatly agitated ; 
till at last his emotions became so violent, that his counte- 
nance was distorted, and his whole frame convulsed. At 
this juncture he threw something that appeared both in 
shape and colour like a small bean, at the young man, 
which seemed to enter his mouth, and he instantly fell as 
motionless as if he had been shot. The chief that was 
placed behind him received him in his arms, and, by the 
assistance of the other two, laid him on the ground to all 
appearance bereft of life. 

Having done this, they immediately began to rub his 
limbs, and to strike him on the back, giving him such blows, 
as seemed more calculated to still the quick, than to raise 
the dead. During these extraordinary applications, the 
speaker continued his harangue, desiring the spectators not 
to be surprized, or to despair of the young man's recovery, 
as his present inanimate situation proceeded only from the 
forcible operation of the spirit, on faculties that had hitherto 
been unused to inspirations of this kind. 

The candidate lay several minutes without sense or mo- 
tion ; but at length, after receiving many violent blows, he 
began to discover some symptoms of returning life. These, 
however, were attended with strong convulsions, and an 
apparent obstruction in his throat. But they were soon at 
an end ; for having discharged from his mouth the bean, or 
whatever it was that the chief had thrown at him, but 
which on the closest inspection I had not perceived to enter 
it, he soon after appeared to be tolerably recovered. 

This part of the ceremony being happily effected, the 
officiating chiefs disrobed him of the cloaths he had usually 
worn, and put on him a set of apparel entirely new. When 
he was dressed, the speaker once more took him by the 
hand, and presented him to the society as a regular and 


[ 178 ] 

thoroughly initiated member, exhorting them, at the same 
time, to give him such necessary assistance, as being a 
young member, he might stand in need of. He then also 
charged the newly elected brother to receive with humility, 
and to follow with punctuality the advice of his elder 

All those who had been admitted within the rails, now 
formed a circle around their new brother, and the music 
striking up, the great chief sung a song, celebrating as usual 
their martial exploits. 

The only music they make use of is a drum, which is 
composed of a piece of a hollow tree curiously wrought, 
and over one end of which is strained a skin, this thev beat 
with a single stick, and it gives a sound that is far from 
harmonious, but it just serves to beat time with. To this 
they sometimes add the chichicoe, and in their war dances 
they likewise use a kind of fife, formed of a reed, which 
makes a shrill harsh noise. 

The whole assembly were by this time united, and the 
dance began ; several singers assisted the music with their 
voices, and the women joining in the chorus at certain in- 
tervals, they produced together a not unpleasing but savage 
harmony. This was one of the most agreeable entertain- 
ments I saw whilst I was among them. 

I could not help laughing at a singular childish custom I 
observed they introduced into this dance, and which was 
the only one that had the least appearance of conjuration. 
Most of the members carried in their hands an otter or 
martin's skin, which being taken whole from the body, and 
filled with wind, on being compressed made a squeaking 
noise through a small piece of wood organically formed 
and fixed in its mouth. When this instrument was pre- 
sented to the face of any of the company, and the sound 
emitted, the person receiving it instantly fell down to ap- 
pearance dead. Sometimes two or three, both men and 

[ 179 ] 

women, were on the ground together; but immediately 
recovering, they rose up and joined again in the dance. 
This seemed to afford, even the chiefs themselves, infinite 
diversion. I afterwards learned that these were their Dii 
Penates or Houshold Gods. 

After some hours spent in this manner the feast began ; 
the dishes being brought near me, I perceived that they 
consisted of dog's flesh ; and I was informed that at all their 
public grand feasts they never made use of any other kind 
of food. For this purpose, at the feast I am now speaking 
of, the new candidate provides fat dogs, if they can be 
procured at any price. 

In this custom of eating dog's flesh on particular occa- 
sions, they resemble the inhabitants of some of the countries 
that lie on the north-east borders of Asia. The author of 
the account of Kamschatka, published by order of the 
Empress of Russia (before referred to) informs us, that the 
people inhabiting Koreka, a country north of Kamschatka, 
who wander about in hords like the Arabs, when they pay 
their worship to the evil beings, kill a rein-deer or a dog, 
the flesh of which they eat, and leave the head and tongue 
sticking on a pole with the front towards the east. Also 
that when they are afraid of any infectious distemper, they 
kill a dog, and winding the guts about two poles, pass 
between them. These customs, in which they are nearly 
imitated by the Indians, seem to add strength to my sup- 
position, that America was first peopled from this quarter. 

I know not under what class of dances to rank that per- 
formed by the Indians who came to my tent when I landed 
near Lake Pepin, on the banks of the Mississippi, as re- 
lated in my Journals. When I looked out, as I there men- 
tioned, I saw about twenty naked young Indians, the most 
perfect in their shape, and by far the handsomest of any I 
had ever seen, coming towards me, and dancing as they 
approached, to the music of their drums. At every ten or 
twelve yards they halted, and set up their yells and cries. 

[ 180 ] 

When they reached my tent, I asked them to come in ; 
which, without deigning to make me any answer, they did. 
As I observed that they were painted red and black, as 
they usually are when they go against an enemy, and per- 
ceived that some parts of the war-dance were intermixed 
with their other movements, I doubted not but thev were 
set on by the inimical chief who had refused my salutation : 
I therefore determined to sell my life as dear as possible. 
To this purpose, I received them sitting on my chest, with 
my gun and pistols beside me, and ordered my men to 
keep a watchful eye on them, and to be also upon their 

The Indians being entered, they continued their dance 
alternately, singing at the same time of their heroic exploits, 
and the superiority of their race over every other people. 
To enforce their language, though it was uncommonly 
nervous and expressive, and such as would of itself have 
carried terror to the firmest heart, at the end of every period 
they struck their war-clubs against the poles of my tent, 
with such violence, that I expected every moment it 
would have tumbled upon us. As each of them, in dancing 
round, passed by me, they placed their right hands over 
their eyes, and coming close to me, looked me steadily in 
the face, which I could not construe into a token of friend- 
ship. My men gave themselves up for lost, and I acknowl- 
edge, for my own part, that I never found my apprehensions 
more tumultuous on any occasion. 

When they had nearly ended their dance, I presented to 
them the pipe of peace, but they would not receive it. I 
then, as my last resource, thought I would try what pres- 
ents would do ; accordingly I took from my chest some 
ribands and trinkets, which I laid before them. These 
seemed to stagger their resolutions, and to avert in some 
degree their anger ; for after holding a consultation to- 
gether, they sat down on the ground, which I considered 
as a favourable omen. 

[ 181 ] 

Thus it proved, as in a short time they received the pipe 
of peace, and lighting it, first presented it to me, and then 
smoaked with it themselves. Soon after they took up the 
presents, which had hitherto lain neglected, and appearing 
to be greatly pleased with them, departed in a friendly 
manner. And never did I receive greater pleasure than at 
getting rid of such formidable guests. 

It was not ever in my power to gain a thorough knowl- 
edge of the designs of my visiters. I had sufficient reason 
to conclude that they were hostile, and that their visit, at 
so late an hour, was made through the instigation of the 
Grand Sautor ; but I was afterwards informed that it might 
be intended as a compliment which they usually pay to the 
chiefs of every other nation who happen to fall in with them, 
and that the circumstances in their conduct, which had ap- 
peared so suspicious to me, were merely the effects of their 
vanity, and designed to impress on the minds of those whom 
they thus visited an elevated opinion of their valour and 
prowess. In the morning before I continued my route, 
several of their wives brought me a present of some sugar, 
for whom I found a few more ribands. 

The Dance of the sacrifice is not so denominated from 
their offering up at the same time a sacrifice to any good 
or evil spirit, but is a dance to which the Naudowessies give 
that title from being used when any public fortunate cir- 
cumstance befalls them. Whilst I resided among them, a 
fine large deer accidentally strayed into the middle of their 
encampment, which they soon destroyed. As this hap- 
pened just at the new moon, they esteemed it a lucky 
omen ; and having roasted it whole, every one in the camp 
partook of it. After their feast, they all joined in a dance, 
which they termed, from its being somewhat of a religious 
nature, a Dance of the sacrifice. 

[ 182 ] 


Of iheir Hunting. 

Hunting is the principal occupation of the Indians ; they 
are trained to it from their earliest youth, and it is an exer- 
cise which is esteemed no less honourable than necessary 
towards their subsistence. A dextrous and resolute hunter 
is held nearly in as great estimation by them as a distin- 
guished warrior. Scarcely any device which the ingenuity 
of man has discovered for ensnaring or destroying those ani- 
mals that s\ipply them with food, or whose skins are valua- 
ble to Europeans, is unknown to them. 

Whilst they are engaged in this exercise, they shake off 
the indolence peculiar to their nature, and become active, 
persevering, and indefatigable. They are equally sagacious 
in finding their prey, and in the means they use to destroy 
it. They discern the footsteps of the beasts they are in pur- 
suit of, although they are imperceptible to every other eye, 
and can follow them with certainty through the pathless 

The beasts that the Indians hunt, both for their flesh on 
which they subsist, and for their skins, of which they either 
make their apparel, or barter with the Europeans for neces- 
saries, are the buffalo, the elk, the deer, the moose, the car- 
ribboo, the bear, the beaver, the otter, the martin, &c. I 
defer giving a description of these creatures here, and shall 
only at present treat of their manner of hunting them. 

The route they shall take for this purpose, and the parties 
that shall go on the different expeditions are fixed in their 
general councils which are held some time in the summer, 
when all the operations for the ensuing winter are concluded 
on. The chief-warrior, whose province it is to regulate 

[ 183 ] 

their proceedings on this occasion, with great solemnity 
issues out an invitation to those who choose to attend him ; 
for the Indians, as before observed, acknowledge no superi- 
ority, nor have they any idea of compulsion ; and every one 
that accepts it prepares himself by fasting during several 

The Indians do not fast as some other nations do, on the 
richest and most luxurious food, but they totally abstain from 
every kind either of victuals or drink ; and such is their pa- 
tience and resolution, that the most extreme thirst could not 
oblige them to taste a drop of water ; yet amidst this severe 
abstinence they appear cheerful and happy. 

The reasons they give for thus fasting, are, that it enables 
them freely to dream, in which dreams they are informed 
where they shall find the greatest plenty of game ; and also 
that it averts the displeasure of the evil spirits, and induces 
them to be propitious. They also on these occasions blacken 
those parts of their bodies that are uncovered. 

The fast being ended, and the place of hunting made 
known, the chief who is to conduct them, gives a grand 
feast to those who are to form the different parties ; of which 
none of them dare to partake till they have bathed them- 
selves. At this feast, notwithstanding they have fasted so 
long, they eat with great moderation ; and the chief that 
presides employs himself in rehearsing the feats of those 
who have been most successful in the business they are 
about to enter upon. They soon after set out on the march 
towards the place appointed, painted or rather bedaubed with 
black, amidst the acclamations of all the people. 

It is impossible to describe their agility or perseverance, 
whilst they are in pursuit of their prey ; neither thickets, 
ditches, torrents, pools, or rivers stop them ; they always go 
strait forward in the most direct line they possibly can, and 
there are few of the savage inhabitants of the woods that 
they cannot overtake. 

[ 184 ] 

When they hunt for bears, they endeavour to find out their 
retreats ; for, during the winter, these animals conceal them- 
selves in the hollow trunks of trees, or make themselves 
holes in the ground, where they continue without food, 
whilst the severe weather lasts. 

When the Indians think they have arrived at a place 
where these creatures usually haunt, they form themselves 
into a circle according to their number, and moving onward, 
endeavour, as they advance towards the centre, to discover 
the retreats of their prey. By this means, if any lie in the 
intermediate space, they are sure of arousing them, and 
bringing them down either with their bows or their guns. 
The bears will take to flight at the sight of a man or a dog, 
and will only make resistance when they are extremely 
hungry, or after they are wounded. 

The Indian method of hunting the buffalo is by forming a 
circle or a square, nearly in the same manner as when they 
search for the bear. Having taken their different stations, 
they set the grass, which at this time is rank and dry, on 
fire, and these animals, who are extremely fearful of that 
element, flying with precipitation before it, great numbers 
are hemmed in a small compass, and scarcely a single one 

They have different ways of hunting the elk, the deer, and 
the carribboo. Sometimes they seek them out in the woods, 
to which they retire during the severity of the cold, where 
they are easily shot from behind the trees. In the more 
northern climates they take the advantage of the weather to 
destroy the elk ; when the sun has just strength enough to 
melt the snow, and the frost in the night forms a kind of crust 
on the surface, this creature being heavy, breaks it with his 
forked hoofs, and with difficulty extricates himself from it: 
at this time therefore he is soon overtaken and destroyed. 

Some nations have a method of hunting these animals 
which is more easily executed, and free from danger. The 

[ 185 ] 

hunting party divide themselves into two bands, and choosing 
a spot near the borders of some river, one party embarks on 
board their canoes, whilst the other forming themselves into 
a semi-circle on the land, the flanks of which reach the shore, 
let loose their dogs, and by this means rouse all the game 
that lies within these bounds ; they then drive them towards 
the river, into which they no sooner enter, than the greatest 
part of them are immediately dispatched by those who re- 
main in the canoes. 

Both the elk and the buffalo are very furious when they 
are wounded, and will return fiercely on their pursuers, and 
trample them under their feet, if the hunter finds not means 
to complete their destruction, or seeks for security in flight 
to some adjacent tree ; by this method they are frequently 
avoided, and so tired with the pursuit that they voluntarily 
give it over. 

But the hunting in which the Indians, particularly those 
who inhabit the northern parts, chiefly employ themselves, 
and from which they reap the greatest advantage, is the 
beaver hunting. The season for this is throughout the whole 
of the winter, from November to April ; during which time 
the fur of these creatures is in the greatest perfection. A 
description of this extraordinary animal, the construction of 
their huts, and the regulations of their almost rational com- 
munity, I shall give in another place. 

The hunters make use of several methods to destroy them. 
Those generally practised, are either that of taking them in 
snares, cutting through the ice, or opening their causeways. 

As the eyes of these animals are very quick, and their 
hearing exceedingly acute, great precaution is necessary in 
approaching their abodes ; for as they seldom go far from 
the water, and their houses are always built close to the 
side of some large river or lake, or dams of their own con- 
structing, upon the least alarm they hasten to the deepest 
part of the water, and dive immediately to the bottom ; as 


[ 186 ] 

they do this they make a great noise by beating the water 
with their tails, on purpose to put the whole fraternity on 
their guard. 

They take them with snares in the following manner : 
though the beavers usually lay up a sufficient store of pro- 
vision to serve for their subsistence during the winter, they 
make from time to time excursions to the neighbouring woods 
to procure further supplies of food. The hunters having 
found out their haunts, place a trap in their way, baited with 
small pieces of bark, or young shoots of trees, which the 
beaver has no sooner laid hold of, than a large log of wood 
falls upon him, and breaks his back ; his enemies, who are 
upon the watch, soon appear, and instantly dispatch the 
helpless animal. 

At other times, when the ice on the rivers and lakes is 
about half a foot thick, they make an opening through it with 
their hatchets, to which the beavers will soon hasten, on 
being disturbed at their houses, for a supply of fresh air. 
As their breath occasions a considerable motion in the waters, 
the hunter has sufficient notice of their approach, and meth- 
ods are easily taken for knocking them on the head the mo- 
ment they appear above the surface. 

When the houses of the beavers happen to be near a riv- 
ulet, they are more easily destroyed : the hunters then cut 
the ice, and spreading a net under it, break down the cabins 
of the beavers, who never fail to make towards the deepest 
part, where they are entangled and taken. But they must 
not be suffered to remain there long, as they would soon ex- 
tricate themselves with their teeth, which are well known to 
be excessively sharp and strong. 

The Indians take great care to hinder their dogs from 
touching the bones of the beavers. The reasons they give 
for these precautions, are, first that the bones are so exces- 
sively hard, that they spoil the teeth of the dogs ; and, sec- 
ondly, that they are apprehensive they shall so exasperate 

[ 187 ] 

the spirits of the beavers by this permission, as to render 
the next hunting season unsuccessful. 

The skins of these animals the hunters exchange with the 
Europeans for necessaries, and as they are more valued by 
the latter than any other kind of furs, they pay the greatest 
attention to this species of hunting. 

When the Indians destroy buffalos, elks, deer, &c. they 
generally divide the flesh of such as they have taken among 
the tribe to which they belong. But in hunting the beaver 
a few families usually unite and divide the spoil between 
them. Indeed, in the first instance they generally pay some 
attention in the division to their own families ; but no jeal- 
ousies or murmurings are ever known to arise on account 
of any apparent partiality. 

Among the Naudowessies, if a person shoots a deer, buf- 
falo, &c. and it runs to a considerable distance before it drops, 
where a person belonging to another tribe, being near, first 
sticks a knife into it, the game is considered as the property 
of the latter, notwithstanding it had been mortally wounded 
by the former. Though this custom appears to be arbitrary 
and unjust, yet that people cheerfully submit to it. This 
decision is, however, very different from that practised by 
the Indians on the back of the colonies, where the first per- 
son that hits it is entitled to the best share. 


Of their Manner of making War, tyc. 

The Indians begin to bear arms at the age of fifteen, and 
lay them aside when they arrive at the age of sixty. Some 
nations to the southward, I have been informed, do not con- 
tinue their military exercises after they are fifty. 

In every band or nation there is a select number who are 

[ 188 ] 

stiled the Warriors, and who are always ready to act either 
offensively or defensively, as occasion requires. These are 
well armed, bearing the weapons commonly in use among 
them, which vary according to the situation of their countries. 
Such as have an intercourse with the Europeans make use 
of tomahawks, knives, and fire-arms ; but those whose dwell- 
ings are situated to the westward of the Mississippi, and 
who have not an opportunity of purchasing these kinds of 
weapons, use bows and arrows, and also the Casse Tete or 

The Indians that inhabit still farther to the westward, a 
country which extends to the South Sea, use in fight a war- 
like instrument that is very uncommon. Having great plenty 
of horses, they always attack their enemies on horseback, 
and encumber themselves with no other weapon, than a stone 
of a midling size, curiously wrought, which they fasten by 
a string, about a yard and half long, to their right arms, a 
little above the elbow. These stones they conveniently 
carry in their hands till they reach their enemies, and then 
swinging them with great dexterity, as they ride full speed, 
never fail of doing execution. The country which these 
tribes possess, abounding with large extensive plains, those 
who attack them seldom return ; as the swiftness of the 
horses on which they are mounted, enables them to overtake 
even the fleetest of their invaders. 

The Naudowessies, who had been at war with this people, 
informed me, that unless they found morasses or thickets to 
which they could retire, they were sure of being cut off: to 
prevent this they always took care whenever they made an 
onset, to do it near such retreats as were impassable for 
cavalry, they then having a great advantage over their ene- 
mies, whose weapons would not there reach them. 

Some nations make use of a javelin pointed with bone 
worked into different forms ; but their Indian weapons in 
general are bows and arrows, and the short club already men- 

[ 189 ] 

tioned. The latter is made of a very hard wood, and the 
head of it fashioned round like a ball, about three inches and 
a half diameter ; in this rotund part is fixed an edge resem- 
bling that of a tomahawk, either of steel or flint, whichever 
they can procure ; similar to that represented in Plate No. 

The dagger placed near it in the same plate, is peculiar 
to the Naudowessie nation, and of ancient construction, but 
they can give no account how long it has been in use among 
them. It was originally made of flint or bone, but since 
they have had communication with the European traders, 
they have formed it of steel. The length of it is about ten 
inches, and that part close to the handle nearly three inches 
broad. Its edges are keen, and it gradually tapers towards 
a point. They wear it in a sheath made of deer's leather, 
neatly ornamented with porcupine quills ; and it is usually 
hung by a string, decorated in the same manner, which 
reaches as low only as the breast. This curious weapon 
is worn by a few of the principal chiefs alone, and consid- 
ered both as an useful instrument, and an ornamental badge 
of superiority. 

I observed among the Naudowessies a few targets or 
shields made of raw buffalo hides, and in the form of those 
used by the ancients. But as the number of these was small, 
and I could gain no intelligence of the sera in which they 
first were introduced among them, I suppose those I saw 
had descended from father to son for many generations. 

The reasons the Indians give for making war against one 
another, are much the same as those urged by more civilized 
nations for disturbing the tranquillity of their neighbours. 
The pleas of the former are however in general more rational 
and just, than such as are brought by Europeans in vindica- 
tion of their proceedings. 

The extension of empire is seldom a motive with these 
people to invade, and to commit depredations on the territo- 

[ 190 ] 

ries of those who happen to dwell near them. To secure 
the rights of hunting within particular limits, to maintain 
the liberty of passing through their accustomed tracks, and 
to guard those lands which they consider from a long 
tenure as their own, against any infringement, are the gen- 
eral causes of those dissensions that so often break out 
between the Indian nations, and which are carried on with 
so much animosity. Though strangers to the idea of sepa- 
rate property, yet the most uncultivated among them are 
well acquainted with the rights of their community to the 
domains they possess, and oppose with vigour every en- 
croachment on them. 

Notwithstanding it is generally supposed that from their 
territories being so extensive, the boundaries of them can- 
not be ascertained, yet I am well assured that the limits of 
each nation in the interior parts are laid down in their rude 
plans with great precision. By theirs, as I have before 
observed, was I enabled to regulate my own ; and after 
the most exact observations and enquiries found very few 
instances in which they erred. 

But interest is not either the most frequent or most 
powerful incentive to their making war on each other. 
The passion of revenge, which is the distinguishing char- 
acteristic of these people, is the most general motive. 
Injuries are felt by them with exquisite sensibility, and 
vengeance pursued with unremitted ardour. To this may 
be added, that natural excitation which every Indian be- 
comes sensible of as soon as he approaches the age of man- 
hood to give proofs of his valour and prowess. 

As they are early possessed with a notion that war 
ought to be the chief business of their lives, that there is 
nothing more desirous than the reputation of being a great 
warrior, and that the scalps of their enemies or a number 
of prisoners are alone to be esteemed valuable, it is not to 
be wondered at that the younger Indians are continually 

[ 191 ] 

restless and uneasy if their ardour is repressed, and they 
are kept in a state of inactivity. Either of these propen- 
sities, the desire of revenge, or the gratification of an im- 
pulse that by degrees becomes habitual to them, is suf- 
ficient, frequently, to induce them to commit hostilities on 
some of the neighbouring nations. 

When the chiefs find any occasion for making war, they 
endeavour to arouse these habitudes, and by that means 
soon excite their warriors to take arms. To this purpose 
they make use of their martial eloquence nearly in the fol- 
lowing words, which never fails of proving effectual : 
" The bones of our deceased countrymen lie uncovered, 
" they call out to us to revenge their wrongs, and we must 
" satisfy their request. Their spirits cry out against us, 
" they must be appeased. The genii, who are the guardi- 
" ans of our honour, inspire us with a resolution to seek 
" the enemies of our murdered brothers. Let us go and 
" devour those by whom they were slain. Sit therefore no 
" longer inactive, give way to the impulse of your natural 
<{ valour, anoint your hair, paint your faces, fill your quiv- 
" ers, cause the forests to resound with your songs, console 
" the spirits of the dead, and tell them they shall be 
" revenged." 

Animated by these exhortations the warriors snatch their 
arms in a transport of fury, sing the song of war, and burn 
with impatience to imbrue their hands in the blood of their 

Sometimes private chiefs assemble small parties, and 
make excursions against those with whom they are at war, 
or such as have injured them. A single warrior, prompted 
by revenge or a desire to show his prowess, will march 
unattended for several hundred miles, to surprize and cut 
off a straggling party. 

These irregular sallies, however, are not always ap- 
proved of by the elder chiefs, though they are often obliged 

[ 192 ] 

to connive at them ; as in the instance before given of the 
Naudovvessie and Chipeway nations. 

But when a war is national, and undertaken by the com- 
munity, their deliberations are formal and slow. The 
elders assemble in council, to which all the head warriors 
and young men are admitted, where they deliver their 
opinions in solemn speeches, weighing with maturity the 
nature of the enterprize they are about to engage in, and 
balancing with great sagacity the advantages or inconve- 
niences that will arise from it. 

Their priests are also consulted on the subject, and even, 
sometimes, the advice of the most intelligent of their 
women is asked. 

If the determination be for war, they prepare for it with 
much ceremony. 

The chief warrior of a nation does not on all occasions 
head the war party himself, he frequently deputes a war- 
rior of whose valour and prudence he has a good opinion. 
The person thus fixed on being first bedawbed with black, 
observes a fast of several days, during which he invokes 
the Great Spirit, or deprecates the anger of the evil ones, 
holding whilst it lasts no converse with any of his tribe. 

He is particularly careful at the same time to observe 
his dreams, for on these do they suppose their success will 
in a great measure depend ; and from the firm persuasion 
every Indian actuated by his own presumptuous thoughts 
is impressed with, that he shall march forth to certain vic- 
tory, these are generally favourable to his wishes. 

After he has fasted as long as custom prescribes, he 
assembles the warriors, and holding a belt of wampum in 
his hand thus addresses them : 

" Brothers ! by the inspiration of the Great Spirit I now 

" speak unto you, and by him am I prompted to carry into 

" execution the intentions which I am about to disclose to 

* you. The blood of our deceased brothers is not yet 

[ 193 ] 

" wiped away ; their bodies are not yet covered, and I am 
" going to perform this duty to them." 

Having then made known to them all the motives that 
induce him to take up arms against the nation with whom 
they are to engage, he thus proceeds : " I have therefore 
" resolved to march through the war-path to surprize them. 
" We will eat their flesh and drink their blood ; we will 
" take scalps, and make prisoners; and should we perish 
" in this glorious enterprize, we shall not be for ever hid in 
" the dust, for this belt shall be a recompence to him who 
" buries the dead." Having said this, he lays the belt on 
the ground, and he who takes it up declares himself his 
lieutenant, and is considered as the second in command ; 
this, however, is only done by some distinguished warrior 
who has a right, by the number of his scalps, to the post. 

Though the Indians thus assert that they will eat the 
flesh and drink the blood of their enemies, the threat is 
only to be considered as a figurative expression. Not- 
withstanding they sometimes devour the hearts of those 
they slay, and drink their blood, by way of bravado, or to 
gratify in a more complete manner their revenge, yet they 
are not naturally anthropophagi, nor ever feed on the flesh 
of men. 

The chief is now washed from his sable covering, 
anointed with bears fat, and painted, with their red paint, 
in such figures as will make him appear most terrible to 
his enemies. He then sings the war song, and enumerates 
his warlike actions. Having done this he fixes his eves on 
the sun, and pays his adorations to the Great Spirit, in 
which he is accompanied by all the warriors. 

This ceremony is followed with dances, such as I have 
before described ; and the whole concludes with a feast 
which usually consists of dogs flesh. 

This feast is held in the hut or tent of the chief warrior, 
to which all those who intend to accompany him in his ex» 


[ 194 ] 

pedition send their dishes to be filled ; and during the feast, 
notwithstanding he has fasted so long, he sits composedly 
with his pipe in his mouth, and recounts the valorous deeds 
of his family. 

As the hopes of having their wounds, should they re- 
ceive any, properly treated, and expeditiously cured, must 
be some additional inducement to the warriors to expose 
themselves more freely to danger, the priests, who are also 
their doctors, prepare such medicines as will prove effica- 
cious. With great ceremony they collect various roots 
and plants, and pretend that they impart to them the power 
of healing. 

Notwithstanding this superstitious method of proceeding, 
it is very certain that they have acquired a knowledge of 
many plants and herbs that are of a medicinal quality, and 
which they know how to use with great skill. 

From the time the resolution of engaging in a war is 
taken, to the departure of the warriors, the nights are spent 
in festivity, and their days in making the needful prepara- 

If it is thought necessary by the nation going to war, to 
solicit the alliance of any neighbouring tribe, they fix upon 
one of their chiefs who speaks the language of that people 
well, and who is a good orator, and send to them by him a 
belt of wampum, on which is specified the purport of the 
embassy in figures that every nation is well acquainted 
with. At the same time he carries with him a hatchet 
painted red. 

As soon as he reaches the camp or village to which he 
is destined, he acquaints the chief of the tribe with the gen- 
eral tenor of his commission, who immediately assembles 
a council, to which the ambassador is invited. There 
having laid the hatchet on the ground he holds the belt in 
his hand, and enters more minutely into the occasion of his 
embassy. In his speech he invites them to take up the 

[ 195 ] 

hatchet, and as soon as he has finished speaking delivers 
the belt. 

If his hearers are inclined to become auxiliaries to his 
nation, a chief steps forward and takes up the hatchet, and 
they immediately espouse with spirit the cause they have 
thus engaged to support. But if on this application neither 
the belt or hatchet are accepted, the emissary concludes 
that the people whose assistance he solicits have already 
entered into an alliance with the foes of his nation, and 
returns with speed to inform his countrymen of his ill 

The manner in which the Indians declare war against 
each other, is by sending a slave with a hatchet, the handle 
of which is painted red, to the nation which they intend to 
break with ; and the messenger, notwithstanding the dan- 
ger to which he is exposed from the sudden fury of those 
whom he thus sets at defiance, executes his commission 
with great fidelity. 

Sometimes this token of defiance has such an instanta- 
neous effect on those to whom it is presented, that in the 
first transports of their fury a small party will issue forth, 
without waiting for the permission of the elder chiefs, and 
slaying the first of the offending nation they meet, cut open 
the body and stick a hatchet of the same kind as that they 
have just received, into the heart of their slaughtered foe. 
Among the more remote tribes this is done with an arrow 
or spear, the end of which is painted red. And the more 
to exasperate, they dismember the body, to show that they 
esteem them not as men but as old women. 

The Indians seldom take the field in large bocfies, as 
such numbers would require a greater degree of industry 
to provide for their subsistence, during their tedious 
marches through dreary forests, or long voyages over 
lakes and rivers, than they would care to bestow. 

Their armies are never encumbered with baggage or 

t 196 ] 

military stores. Each warrior, besides his weapons, car- 
ries with him only a mat, and whilst at a distance from the 
frontiers of the enemy supports himself with the game he 
kills or the fish he catches. 

When they pass through a country where they have no 
apprehensions of meeting with an enemy, they use very 
little precaution: sometimes there are scarcely a dozen 
warriors left together, the rest being dispersed in pursuit 
of their game ; but though they should have roved to a 
very considerable distance from the war-path, they are 
sure to arrive at the place of rendezvous by the hour 
appointed. - 

They always pitch their tents long before sun-set ; and 
being naturally presumptuous take very little care to guard 
against a surprize. They place great confidence in their 
Manitousj or houshold gods, which they always carry with 
them ; and being persuaded that they take upon them the 
office of centinels, they sleep very securely under their 

These Manitous, as they are called by some nations, but 
which are termed Wakons, that is, spirits, by the Naudo- 
wessies, are nothing more than the otter and martins skins 
I have already described, for which, however, they have a 
great veneration. 

After they have entered the enemies country, no people 
can be more cautious and circumspect ; fires are no longer 
lighted, no more shouting is heard, nor the game any longer 
pursued. They are not even permitted to speak ; but 
must convey whatever they have to impart to each other 
by signs and motions. 

They now proceed wholly by stratagem and ambuscade. 
Having discovered their enemies, they send to reconnoitre 
them ; and a council is immediately held, during which they 
speak only in whispers, to consider of the intelligence im- 
parted by those who were sent out. 

[ 197 ] 

The attack is generally made just before day-break, at 
which period they suppose their foes to be in the soundest 
sleep. Throughout the whole of the preceding night they 
will lie flat upon their faces, without stirring; and make 
their approaches in the same posture, creeping upon their 
hands and feet till they are got within bow-shot of those 
they have destined to destruction. On a signal given by 
the chief warrior, to which the whole body makes answer 
by the most hideous yells, they all start up, and discharging 
their arrows in the same instant, without giving iheir ad- 
versaries time to recover from the confusion into which 
they are thrown, pour in upon them with their war-clubs 
or tomahawks. 

The Indians think there is little glory to be acquired from 
attacking their enemies openly in the field ; their greatest 
pride is to surprize and destroy. They seldom engage 
without a manifest appearance of advantage. If they find 
the enemy on their guard, too strongly entrenched, or su- 
perior in numbers, they retire, provided there is an oppor- 
tunity of doing so. And they esteem it the greatest quali- 
fication of a chief warrior, to be able to manage an attack, 
so as to destroy as many of the enemy as possible, at the 
ex pence of a few men. 

Sometimes they secure themselves behind trees, hillocks, 
or stones, and having given one or two rounds retire before 
they are discovered. Europeans, who are unacquainted 
with this method of fighting too often find to their cost the 
destructive efficacy of it. 

General Braddock was one of this unhappy number. 
Marching in the year 1755, to attack Fort Du Quesne, he 
was intercepted by a party of French and confederate In- 
dians in their interest, who by this insidious method of en- 
gaging found means to defeat his army, which consisted of 
about two thousand brave and well-disciplined troops. So 
securely were the Indians posted, that the English scarcely 

[ 198 ] 

knew from whence or by whom they were thus annoyed. 
During the whole of the engagement the latter had scarcely 
a sight of an enemy ; and were obliged to retreat without 
the satisfaction of being able to take the least degree of re- 
venge for the havock made among them. The General 
paid for his temerity with his life, and was accompanied in 
his fall by a great number of brave fellows ; whilst his invisi- 
ble enemies had only two or three of their number wounded. 

When the Indians succeed in their silent approaches, and 
are able to force the camp which they attack, a scene of 
horror, that exceeds description, ensues. The savage 
fierceness of the conquerors, and the desperation of the con- 
quered, who well know what they have to expect should 
they fall alive into the hands of their assailants, occasion 
the most extraordinary exertions on both sides. The figure 
of the combatants all besmeared with black and red paint, 
and covered with the blood of the slain, their horrid yells, 
and ungovernable fury, are not to be conceived by those 
who have never crossed the Atlantic. 

I have frequently been a spectator of them, and once 
bore a part in a similar scene. But what added to the 
horror of it was, that I had not the consolation of being able 
to oppose their savage attacks. Every circumstance of the 
adventure still dwells on my remembrance, and enables 
me to describe with greater perspicuity the brutal fierceness 
of the Indians when they have surprized or overpowered 
an enemy. 

As a detail of the massacre at Fort William Henry in 
the year 1757, the scene to which I refer, cannot appear 
foreign to the design of this publication, but will serve to 
give my readers a just idea of the ferocity of this people, I 
shall take the liberty to insert it, apologizing at the same 
time for the length of the digression, and those egotisms 
which the relation renders unavoidable. 

General Webb, who commanded the English army in 

[ 199 ] 

North America, which was then encamped at Fort Edward, 
having intelligence that the French troops under Mons. 
Montcalm were making some movements towards Fort 
William Henry, he despatched a corps of about fifteen 
hundred men, consisting of English and Provincials, to 
strengthen the garrison. In this party I went as a volun- 
teer among the latter. 

The apprehensions of the English General were not 
without foundation; for the day after our arrival we saw 
Lake George (formerly Lake Sacrament) to which it lies 
contiguous, covered with an immense number of boats ; and 
in a few hours we found our lines attacked by the French 
General, who had just landed with eleven thousand Regu- 
lars and Canadians, and two thousand Indians. Colonel 
Monro, a brave officer, commanded in the Fort, and had 
no more than two thousand three hundred men with him, 
our detachment included. 

With these he made a gallant defence, and probably 
would have been able at last to preserve the Fort, had he 
been properly supported, and permitted to continue his ef- 
forts. On every summons to surrender sent by the French 
General, who offered the most honourable terms, his an- 
swer repeatedly was, That he yet found himself in a con- 
dition to repel the most vigorous attacks his besiegers were 
able to make ; and if he thought his present force insuffi- 
cient, he could soon be supplied with a greater number 
from the adjacent army. 

But the Colonel having acquainted General Webb with 
his situation, and desired he would send him some fresh 
troops, the general dispatched a messenger to him with a 
letter, wherein he informed him that it was not in his 
power to assist him, and therefore gave him orders to sur- 
render up the Fort on the best terms he could procure. 
This packet fell into the hands of the French General, who 
immediately sent a flag of truce, desiring a cenference with 
the governor. 

[ 200 ] 

They accordingly met, attended only by a small guard, 
in the centre between the lines ; when Mons. Montcalm 
told the Colonel, that he was come in person to demand 
possession of the Fort, as it belonged to the King his master. 
The Colonel replied, that he knew not how that could be, 
nor should he surrender it up whilst it was in his power to 
defend it. 

The French General rejoined, at the same time deliver- 
ing the packet into the Colonel's hand, " By this authority 
11 do I make the requisition." The brave Governor had no 
sooner read the contents of it, and was convinced that such 
were the orders of the commander in chief, and not to be 
disobeyed, than he hung his head in silence, and reluctantly 
entered into a negociation. 

In consideration of the gallant defence the garrison had 
made, they were to be permitted to march out with all the 
honours of war, to be allowed covered waggons to transport 
their baggage to Fort Edward, and a guard to protect them 
from the fury of the savages. 

The morning after the capitulation was signed, as soon 
as day broke, the whole garrison, now consisting of about 
two thousand men, besides women and children, were 
drawn up within the lines, and on the point of marching off, 
when great numbers of the Indians gathered about, and be- 
gan to plunder. We were at first in hopes that this was 
their only view, and suffered them to proceed without op- 
position. Indeed it was not in our power to make any, 
had we been so inclined ; for though we were permitted to 
carry off our arms, yet we were not allowed a single round 
of ammunition. In these hopes however we were dis- 
appointed : for presently some of them began to attack the 
sick and wounded, when such as were not able to crawl 
into the ranks, notwithstanding they endeavoured to avert 
the fury of their enemies by their shrieks or groans, were 
soon dispatched. 

[ 201 ] 

Here we were fully in expectation that the disturbance 
would have concluded ; and our little army began to move ; 
but in a short time we saw the front division driven back, 
and discovered that we were entirely encircled by the 
savages. We expected every moment that the guard, 
which the French, by the articles of capitulation, had 
agreed to allow us, would have arrived, and put an end to 
our apprehensions ; but none appeared. The Indians now 
began to strip every one without exception of their arms 
and cloaths, and those who made the least resistance felt the 
weight of their tomahawks. 

I happened to be in the rear division, but it was not long 
before I shared the fate of my companions. Three or four 
of the savages laid hold of me, and whilst some held their 
weapons over my head, the others soon disrobed me of my 
coat, waistcoat, hat, and buckles, omitting not to take from 
me what money I had in my pocket. As this was trans- 
acted close by the passage that led from the lines on to the 
plain, near which a French centinel was posted, I ran to him 
and claimed his protection ; but he only called me an Eng- 
lish dog, and thrust me with violence back again into the 
midst of the Indians. 

I now endeavoured to join a body of our troops that 
were crowded together at some distance ; but innumerable 
were the blows that were made at me with different 
weapons as I passed on ; luckily however the savages 
were so close together, that they could not strike at me 
without endangering each other. Notwithstanding which 
one of them found means to make a thrust at me with a 
spear, which grazed my side, and from another I received 
a wound, with the same kind of weapon, in my ancle. At 
length I gained the spot where my countrymen stood, and 
forced myself into the midst of them. But before I got thus 
far out of the hands of the Indians, the collar and wrist- 
bands of my shirt were all that remained of it, and my flesh 


[ 202 1 

was scratched and torn in many places by their savage 

By this time the war-hoop was given, and the Indians 
began to murder those that were nearest to them without 
distinction. It is not in the power of words to give any 
tolerable idea of the horrid scene that now ensued ; men, 
women, and children were dispatched in the most wanton 
and cruel manner, and immediately scalped. Many of 
these savages drank the blood of their victims, as it flowed 
warm from the fatal wound. 

We now perceived, though too late to avail us, that we 
were to expect no relief from the French ; and that, con- 
trary to the agreement they had so lately signed to allow 
us a sufficient force to protect us from these insults, they 
tacitly permitted them ; for I could plainly perceive the 
French officers walking about at some distance, discoursing 
together with apparent unconcern. For the honour of 
human nature I would hope that this flagrant breach of 
every sacred law, proceeded rather from the savage dis- 
position of the Indians, which I acknowledge it is some- 
times almost impossible to controul, and which might now 
unexpectedly have arrived to a pitch not easily to be 
restrained, than to any premeditated design in the French 
commander. An unprejudiced observer would, however, 
be apt to conclude, that a body of ten thousand christian 
troops, most christian troops, had it in their power to pre- 
vent the massacre from becoming so general. But what- 
ever was the cause from which it arose, the consequences 
of it were dreadful, and not to be paralleled in modern 

As the circle in which I stood inclosed by this time was 
much thinned, and death seemed to be approaching with 
hasty strides, it was proposed by some of the most resolute 
to make one vigorous effort, and endeavour to force our 
way through the savages, the only probable method of 

[ 203 ] 

preserving our lives that now remained. This, however 
desperate, was resolved on, and about twenty of us sprung 
at once into the midst of them. 

In a moment we were all separated, and what was the 
fate of my companions I could not learn till some months 
after, when I found that only six or seven of them effected 
their design. Intent only on my own hazardous situation, 
I endeavoured to make my way through my savage ene- 
mies in the best manner possible. And I have often been 
astonished since, when I have recollected with what com- 
posure I took, as I did, every necessary step for my pres- 
ervation. Some I overturned, being at that time young 
and athletic, and others I passed by, dextrously avoiding 
their weapons ; till at last two very stout chiefs, of the 
most savage tribes, as I could distinguish by their dress, 
whose strength I could not resist, laid hold of me by each 
arm, and began to force me through the crowd. 

I now resigned myself to my fate, not doubting but that 
they intended to dispatch me, and then to satiate their 
vengeance with my blood, as I found they were hurrying 
me towards a retired swamp that lay at some distance. 
But before we had got many yards, an English gentleman 
of some distinction, as I could discover by his breeches, 
the only covering he had on, which were of fine scarlet 
velvet, rushed close by us. One of the Indians instantly 
relinquished his hold, and springing on this new object, 
endeavoured to seize him as his prey; but the gentleman 
being strong, threw him on the ground, and would proba- 
bly have got away, had not he who held my other arm, 
quitted me to assist his brother. I seized the opportunity, 
and hastened away to join another party of English troops 
that were yet unbroken, and stood in a body at some dis- 
tance. But before I had taken many steps, I hastily cast 
my eye towards the gentleman, and saw the Indian's toma- 
hawk gash into his back, and heard him utter his last groan ; 
this added both to my speed and desperation. 

[ 204 ] 

I had left this shocking scene but a few yards, when a 
fine boy about twelve years of age, that had hitherto 
escaped, came up to me, and begged that I would let him 
lay hold of me, so that he might stand some chance of get- 
ting out of the hands of the savages. I told him that I 
would give him every assistance in my power, and to this 
purpose bid him lay hold ; but in a few moments he was 
torn from my side, and by his shrieks I judge was soon 
demolished. I could not help forgetting my own cares for 
a minute, to lament the fate of so young a sufferer; but it 
was utterly impossible for me to take any methods to pre- 
vent it. 

I now got once more into the midst of friends, but we 
were unable to afford each other any succour. As this 
was the division that had advanced the furthest from the 
fort, I thought there might be a possibility (though but a 
very bare one) of my forcing my way through the outer 
ranks of the Indians, and getting to a neighbouring wood, 
which I perceived at some distance. I was still encour- 
aged to hope by the almost miraculous preservation I had 
already experienced. 

Nor were my hopes vain, or the efforts I made ineffectual. 
Suffice it to say that I reached the wood ; but by the time 
I had penetrated a little way into it, my breath was so ex- 
hausted that I threw myself into a brake, and lay for some 
minutes apparently at the last gasp. At length I recovered 
the power of respiration ; but my apprehensions returned 
with all their former force, when I saw several savages 
pass by, probably in pursuit of me, at no very great dis- 
tance. In this situation I knew not whether it was better 
to proceed, or endeavour to conceal myself where I lay, till 
night came on ; fearing, however, that they would return 
the same way, I thought it most prudent to get farther from 
the dreadful scene of my past distresses. Accordingly, 
striking into another part of the wood, I hastened on as fast 

[ 205 ] 

as the briars and the loss of one of my shoes would permit 
me ; and after a slow progress of some hours, gained a hill 
that overlooked the plain which I had just left, from whence 
I could discern that the bloody storm still raged with una- 
bated fury. 

But not to tire my readers, I shall only add, that after 
passing three days without subsistence, and enduring the 
severity of the cold dews for three nights, I at length 
reached Fort Edward; wherewith proper care my body 
soon recovered its wonted strength, and my mind, as far as 
the recollection of the late melancholy events would per- 
mit, its usual composure. 

It was computed that fifteen hundred persons were killed 
or made prisoners by these savages during this fatal day. 
Many of the latter were carried off by them and never re- 
turned. A few, through favourable accidents, found their 
way back to their native country, after having experienced 
a long and severe captivity. 

The brave Colonel Monro had hastened away, soon after 
the confusion began, to the French camp to endeavour to 
proeure the guard agreed by the stipulation ; but his appli- 
cation proving ineffectual, he remained there till General 
Webb sent a party of troops to demand and protect him 
back to Fort Edward. But these unhappy occurrences, 
which would probably have been prevented, had he been 
left to pursue his own plans, together with the loss of so 
many brave fellows, murdered in cold blood, to whose 
valour he had been so lately a witness, made such an im- 
pression on his mind, that he did not long survive. He 
died in about three months of a broken heart, and with 
truth might it be said, that he was an honour to his country. 

I mean not to point out the following circumstance as the 
immediate judgment of heaven, and intended as an atone- 
ment for this slaughter ; but I cannot omit that very few of 
those different tribes of Indians that shared in it ever lived 

[ 206 ] 

to return home. The small pox, by means of their com- 
munication with the Europeans, found its way among them, 
and made an equal havock to what they themselves had 
done. The methods they pursued on the first attack of 
that malignant disorder, to abate the fever attending it, ren- 
dered it fatal. Whilst their blood was in a state of fer- 
mentation, and nature was striving to throw out the pec- 
cant matter, they checked her operations by plunging into 
the water: the consequence was, that they died by hun- 
dreds. The few that survived were transformed bv it into 


hideous objects, and bore with them to the grave deep in- 
dented marks of this much-dreaded disease. 

Monsieur Montcalm fell soon after on the plains of Quebec. 

That the unprovoked cruelty of this commander was not 
approved of by the generality of his countrymen,-I have 
since been convinced of by many proofs. One only how- 
ever, which I received from a person who was witness to 
it, shall I at present give. A Canadian merchant, of some 
consideration, having heard of the surrender of the English 
Fort, celebrated the fortunate event with great rejoicings 
and hospitality, according to the custom of that country ; 
but no sooner did the news of the massacre which ensued 
reach his ears, than he put an immediate stop to the fes- 
tivity, and exclaimed in the severest terms against the in- 
human permission ; declaring at the same time that those 
who had connived at It, had thereby drawn down on that 
part of their king's dominions the vengeance of heaven. 
To this he added, that he much feared the total loss of them 
would deservedly be the consequence. How truly this 
prediction has been verified we all know. 

But to return — Though the Indians are negligent in 
guarding against surprizes, they are alert and dextrous in 
surprizing their enemies. To their caution and perseve- 
rance in stealing on the party they design to attack, they 
add that admirable talent, or rather instinctive qualification, 

[ 207 ] 

I have already described, of tracing out those they are in 
pursuit of. On the smoothest grass, on the hardest earth, 
and even on the very stones, will they discover the traces 
of an enemy, and by the shape of the footsteps, and the dis- 
tance between the prints, distinguish not only whether it is 
a man or woman who has passed that way, but even the 
nation to which they belong. However incredible this 
might appear, yet, from the many proofs I received whilst 
among them of their amazing sagacity in this point, I see no 
reason to discredit even these extraordinary exertions of it. 

When they have overcome an enemy, and victory is no 
longer doubtful, the conquerors first dispatch all such as 
they think they shall not be able to carry off without great 
trouble, and then endeavour to take as many prisoners as 
possible ; after this they return to scalp those who are 
either dead, or too much wounded to be taken with them. 

At this business they are exceedingly expert. They 
seize the head of the disabled or dead enemy, and placing 
one of their feet on the neck, twist their left hand in the 
hair ; by this means, having extended the skin that covers 
the top of the head, they draw out their scalping knives, 
which are always kept in good order for this cruel purpose, 
and with a few dextrous strokes take off the part that is 
termed the scalp. They are so expeditious in doing this, 
that the whole time required scarcely exceeds a minute. 
These they preserve as monuments of their prowess, and 
at the same time as proofs of the vengeance they have in- 
flicted on their enemies. 

If two Indians seize in the same instant a prisoner, and 
seem to have an equal claim, the contest between them is 
soon decided ; for to put a speedy end to any dispute that 
might arise, the person that is apprehensive he shall lose 
his expected reward, immediately has recourse to his tom- 
ahawk or war-club, and knocks on the head the unhappy 
cause of their contention. 

[ 208 ] 

Having completed their purposes, and made as much 
havock as possible, they immediately retire towards their 
own country, with the spoil they have acquired, for fear of 
being pursued. 

Should this be the case, they make use of many strata- 
gems to elude the searches of their pursuers. They some- 
times scatter leaves, sand, or dust over the prints of their 
feet ; sometimes tread in each others footsteps ; and some- 
times lift their feet so high, and tread so lightly, as not to 
make any impression on the ground. But if they find all 
these precautions unavailing, and that they are near being 
overtaken, they first dispatch and scalp their prisoners, and 
then dividing, each endeavours to regain his native country 
by a different route. This prevents all farther pursuit ; 
for their pursuers now despairing, either of gratifying their 
revenge, or of releasing those of their friends who were 
made captives, return home. 

If the successful party is so lucky as to make good their 
retreat unmolested, they hasten with the greatest expedi- 
tion to reach a country where they may be perfectly 
secure ; and that their wounded companions may not re- 
tard their flight, they carry them by turns in litters, or if it 
is in the winter season draw them on sledges. 

Their litters are made in a rude manner of the branches 
of trees. Their sledges consist of two small thin boards 
about a foot wide when joined, and near six feet long. 
The fore part is turned up, and the sides are bordered with 
small bands. The Indians draw these carriages with great 
ease, be they ever so much loaded, by means of a string 
which passes round the breast. This collar is called a 
Metump, and is in use throughout America, both in the 
settlements and the internal parts. Those used in the lat- 
ter are made of leather, and very curiously wrought. 

The prisoners during their march are guarded with the 
greatest care. During the day, if the journey is over land, 

[ 209 ] 

they are always held by some of the victorious party ; if 
by water, they are fastened to the canoe. In the night- 
time they are stretched along the ground quite naked, with 
their legs, arms, and neck fastened to hooks fixed in the 
ground. Besides this, cords are tied to their arms or legs, 
which are held by an Indian, who instantly awakes at the 
least motion of them. 

Notwithstanding such precautions are usually taken by 
the Indians, it is recorded in the annals of New England, 
that one of the weaker sex, almost alone, and unassisted, 
found means to elude the vigilance of a party of warriors, 
and not only to make her escape from them, but to revenge 
the cause of her countrymen. 

Some years ago, a small band of Canadian Indians, con- 
sisting of ten warriors attended by two of their wives, 
made an irruption into the back settlements of New Eng- 
land. They lurked for some time in the vicinity of one 
of the most exterior towns, and at length, after having 
killed and scalped several people, found means to take 
prisoner a woman who had with her a son of about twelve 
years of age. Being satisfied with the execution they had 
done, they retreated towards their native country, which 
lay at three hundred miles distance, and carried off with 
them their two captives. 

The second night of their retreat, the woman, whose 
name, if I mistake not, was Rowe, formed a resolution 
worthy of the most intrepid hero. She thought she should 
be able to get from her hands the manacles by which they 
were confined, and determined if she did so to make a des- 
perate effort for the recovery of her freedom. To this 
purpose, when she concluded that her conquerors were in 
their soundest sleep, she strove to slip the cords from her 
hands. In this she succeeded ; and cautioning her son, 
whom they had suffered to go unbound, in a whisper, 
against being surprized at what she was about to do, she 


[ 210 ] 

removed to a distance with great wariness the defensive 
weapons of the Indians, which lay by their sides. 

Having done this, she put one of the tomahawks into the 
hands of the boy, bidding him to follow her example ; and 
taking another herself, fell upon the sleeping Indians, sev- 
eral of whom she instantly dispatched. But her attempt 
was nearly frustrated by the imbecility of her son, who 
wanting both strength and resolution, made a feeble stroke 
at one of them, which only served to awaken him ; she 
however sprung at the rising warrior, and before he could 
recover his arms, made him sink under the weight of her 
tomahawk ; and this she alternately did to all the rest, ex- 
cept one of the women, who awoke in time, and made her 

The heroine then took off the scalps of her vanquished 
enemies, and seizing also those they were carrying away 
with them as proofs of their success, she returned in tri- 
umph to the town from whence she had so lately been 
dragged, to the great astonishment of her neighbours, who 
could scarcely credit their senses, or the testimonies she 
bore of her Amazonian intrepidity. 

During their march they oblige their prisoners to sing 
their death-song, which generally consists of these or simi- 
lar sentences : " I am going to die, I am about to suffer ; 
" but I will bear the severest tortures my enemies can in- 
" flict with becoming fortitude. I will die like a brave 
" man, and I shall then go to join the chiefs that have suf- 
" fered on the same account." These songs are continued 
with necessary intervals, until they reach the village or 
camp to which they are going. 

When the warriors are arrived within hearing, they set 
up different cries, which communicates to their friends a 
general history of the success of the expedition. The 
number of the death-cries they give, declares how many of 
their own party are lost; the number of war-hoops, the 
number of prisoners they have taken. 

t 211 ] 

It is difficult to describe these cries, but the best idea I 
can convey of them is, that the former consists of the sound 
Whoo, Whoo, Whoop, which is continued in a long shrill 
tone, nearly till the breath is exhausted, and then broken 
off with a sudden elevation of the voice. The latter of a 
loud cry, of much the same kind, which is modulated into 
notes by the hand being placed before the mouth. Both of 
them might be heard to a very considerable distance. 

Whilst these are uttering, the persons to whom they are 
designed to convey the intelligence, continue motionless 
and all attention. When this ceremony is performed, the 
whole village issue out to learn the particulars of the rela- 
tion they have just heard in general terms, and according 
as the news prove mournful or the contrary, they answer 
by so many acclamations or cries of lamentation. 

Being by this time arrived at the village or camp, the 
women and children arm themselves with sticks and blud- 
geons, and form themselves into two ranks, through which 
the prisoners are obliged to pass. The treatment they un- 
dergo before they reach the extremity of the line, is very 
severe. Sometimes they are so beaten over the head and 
face, as to have scarcely any remains of life ; and happy 
would it be for them if by this usage an end was put to 
their wretched beings. But their tormentors take care 
that none of the blows they give prove mortal, as they 
wish to reserve the miserable sufferers for more severe 

After having undergone this introductory discipline, they 
are bound hand and foot, whilst the chiefs hold a council 
in which their fate is determined. Those who are decreed 
to be put to death by the usual torments, are delivered to 
the chief of the warriors ; such as are to be spared, are 
given into the hands of the chief of the nation : so that in 
a short time all the prisoners may be assured of their fate, 
as the sentence now pronounced is irrevocable. Tha 

[ 212 ] 

former they term being consigned to the house of death, 
the latter to the house of grace. 

Such captives as are pretty far advanced in life, and 
have acquired great honour by their warlike deeds, always 
atone for the blood they have spilt by the tortures of fire. 
Their success in war is readily known by the blue marks 
upon their breasts and arms, which are as legible to the 
Indians as letters are to Europeans. 

The manner in which these hieroglyphicks are made, is 
by breaking the skin with the teeth of fish, or sharpened 
flints, dipped in a kind of ink made of the soot of pitch pine. 
Like those of the ancient Picts of Britain these are esteemed 
ornamental ; and at the same time they serve as registers 
of the heroic actions of the warrior, who thus bears about 
him indelible marks of his valour. 

The prisoners destined to death are soon led to the place 
of execution, which is generally in the centre of the camp 
or village; where,, being stript, and every part of their 
bodies blackened, the skin of a crow or raven is fixed on 
their heads. They are then bound to a stake, with faggots 
heaped around them, and obliged for the last time to sing 
their death-song. 

The warriors, for such it is only who commonly suffer 
this punishment, now perform in a more prolix manner this 
sad solemnity. They recount with an audible voice all the 
brave actions they have performed, and pride themselves 
in the number of enemies they have killed. In this re- 
hearsal they spare not even their tormentors, but strive by 
every provoking tale then can invent to irritate and insult 
them. Sometimes this has the desired effect, and the suf- 
ferers are dispatched sooner than they otherwise would 
have been. 

There are many other methods which the Indians make 
use of to put their prisoners to death, but these are only 
occasional ; that of burning is most generally used. 

[ 213 ] 

Whilst I was at the chief town of the Ottagaumies, an 
Illinois Indian was brought in, who had been made prisoner 
by one of their war parties. I had then an opportunity of 
seeing the customary cruelties inflicted by these people on 
their captives, through the minutest part of their process. 
After the previous steps necessary to his condemnation, he 
was carried, early in the morning, to a little distance from 
the town, where he was bound to a tree. 

This being done, all the boys, who amounted to a great 
number, as the place was populous, were permitted to 
amuse themselves with shooting their arrows at the un- 
happy victim. As they were none of them more than 
twelve years old, and were placed at a considerable dis- 
tance, they had not strength to penetrate to the vital parts, 
so that the poor wretch stood pierced with arrows, and 
suffering the consequent agonies, for more than two days. 

During this time he sung his warlike exploits. He re- 
capitulated every stratagem he had made use of to surprize 
his enemies : he boasted of the quantity of scalps he pos- 
sessed, and enumerated the prisoners he had taken. He 
then described the different barbarous methods by which 
he had put the latter to death, and seemed even then to 
receive inconceivable pleasure from the recital of the hor- 
rid tale. 

But he dwelt more particularly on the cruelties he had 
practised on such of the kindred of his present tormentors 
as had fallen into his hands ; endeavouring by these ag- 
gravated insults to induce them to increase his tortures, 
that he might be able to give greater proofs of fortitude. 
Even in the last struggles of life, when he was no longer 
able to vent in words the indignant provocation his tongue 
would have uttered, a smile of mingled scorn and triumph 
sat on his countenance. 

This method of tormenting their enemies is considered 
by the Indians as productive of more than one beneficial 

[ 214 ] 

consequence. It satiates, in a greater degree, that dia- 
bolical lust of revenge, which is the predominant passion in 
the breast of every individual of every tribe, and it gives 
the growing warriors an early propensity to that cruelty 
and thirst for blood, which is so necessary a qualification 
for such as would be thoroughly skilled in their savage art 
of war. 

I have been informed, that an Indian who was under the 
hands of his tormentors, had the audacity to tell them, that 
they were ignorant old women, and did not know how to 
put brave prisoners to death. He acquainted them that he 
had heretofore taken some of their warriors, and instead of 
the trivial punishments they inflicted on him, he had devised 
for them the most excruciating torments : that having bound 
them to a stake, he had stuck their bodies full of sharp 
splinters of turpentine wood, to which he then set fire, and 
dancing around them enjoyed the agonizing pangs of the 
flaming victims. 

This bravado, which carried with it a degree of insult 
that even the accustomed ear of an Indian could not listen 
to unmoved, threw his tormentors off their guard, and 
shortened the duration of his torments ; for one of the chiefs 
ran to him, and ripping out his heart, stopped with it the 
mouth from which had issued such provoking language. 

Innumerable are the stories that may be told of the 
courage and resolution of the Indians, who happen to be 
made prisoners by their adversaries. Many that I have 
heard are so astonishing, that they seem to exceed the 
utmost limits of credibility ; it is, however, certain that 
these savages are possessed with many heroic qualities, and 
bear every species of misfortune with a degree of fortitude 
which has not been outdone by any of the ancient heroes 
of either Greece or Rome. 

Notwithstanding these acts of severity exercised by the 
Indians towards those of their own species who fall into 

[ 215 ] 

their hands, some tribes of them have been remarked for 
their moderation to such female prisoners belonging to the 
English colonies as have happened to be taken by them. 
Women of great beauty have frequently been carried off 
by them, and during a march of three or four hundred 
miles through their retired forests, have lain by their sides 
without receiving any insult, and their chastity has re- 
mained inviolate. Instances have happened where female 
captives, who have been pregnant at the time of their being 
taken, have found the pangs of child-birth come upon them 
in the midst of solitary woods, and savages their only com- 
panions ; yet from these, savages as they were, have they 
received every assistance their situation would admit of, 
and been treated with a degree of delicacy and humanity 
they little expected. 

This forbearance, it must be acknowledged, does not 
proceed altogether from their dispositions, but is only in- 
herent in those who have held some communication with 
the French missionaries. Without intending that their 
natural enemies the English should enjoy the benefit of 
their labours, these fathers have taken great pains to incul- 
cate on the minds of the Indians the general principles of 
humanity, which has diffused itself through their manners, 
and has proved of public utility. 

Those prisoners that are consigned to the house of grace, 
and these are commonly the young men, women, and 
children, await the disposal of the chiefs, who, after the 
execution of such as are condemned to die, hold a council 
for this purpose. 

A herald is sent round the village or camp, to give notice 
that such as have lost any relation in the late expedition 
are desired to attend the distribution which is about to take 
place. Those women who have lost their sons or husbands 
are generally satisfied in the first place ; after these, such 
as have been deprived of friends of a more remote degree 

[ 216 ] 

of consanguinity, or who choose to adopt some of the 

The division being made, which is done, as in other 
cases, without the least dispute, those who have received 
any share lead them to their tents or huts ; and having un- 
bound them, wash and dress their wounds if they happen 
to have received any; they then cloath them, and give 
them the most comfortable and refreshing food their store 
will afford. 

Whilst their new domesticks are feeding, they endeavour 
to administer consolation to them ; they tell them that as they 
are redeemed from death, they must now be cheerful and 
happy ; and if they serve them well, without murmuring or 
repining, nothing shall be wanting to make them such atone- 
ment for the loss of their country and friends as circum- 
stances will allow of. 

If any men are spared, they are commonly given to the 
widows that have lost their husbands by the hand of the 
enemy, should there be any such, to whom, if they happen 
to prove agreeable, they are soon married. But should the 
dame be otherwise engaged, the life of him who falls to her 
lot is in great danger ; especially if she fancies that her late 
husband wants a slave in the country of spirits to which he 
is gone. 

When this is the case, a number of young men take the 
devoted captive to some distance, and despatch him with- 
out any ceremony ; after he has been spared by the council, 
they consider him of too little consequence to be intitled to 
the torments allotted to those who have been judged worthy 
of them. 

The women are usually distributed to the men, from 
whom they do not fail of meeting with a favourable recep- 
tion. The boys and girls are taken into the families of such 
as have need of them, and are considered as slaves ; and it 
is not uncommon that they are sold in the same capacity to 
the European traders who come among them. 

[ 217 ] 

The Indians have no idea of moderating the ravages of 
war, by sparing their prisoners, and entering into a negoti- 
ation with the band from whom they have been taken, for 
an exchange. All that are captivated by both parties, are 
either put to death, adopted, or made slaves of. And so 
particular are every nation in this respect, that if any of 
their tribe, even a warrior, should be taken prisoner, and by 
chance be received into the house of grace, either as an 
adopted person or a slave, and should afterwards make his 
escape, they will by no means receive him, or acknowledge 
him as one of their band. 

The condition of such as are adopted differs not in any 
one instance from the children of the nation to which they 
now belong. They assume all the rights of those whose 
places they supply, and frequently make no difficulty of 
going in the war-parties against their own countrymen. 
Should, however, any of these by chance make their escape, 
and be afterwards retaken, they are esteemed as unnatural 
children and ungrateful persons, who have deserted and 
made war upon their parents and benefactors, and are 
treated with uncommon severity. 

That part of the prisoners which are considered as slaves, 
are generally distributed among the chiefs ; who frequently 
make presents of some of them to the European governors 
of the out-posts, or to the superintendants or commissaries 
of Indian affairs. I have been informed that it was the 
Jesuits and French missionaries that first occasioned the 
introduction of these unhappy captives into the settlements, 
and who by so doing taught the Indians that they were 

Their views indeed were laudable, as they imagined that 
by this method they should not only prevent much barbarity 
and bloodshed, but find the opportunities of spreading their 
religion among them increased. To this purpose they en- 


[ 218 ] 

couraged the traders to purchase such slaves as they met 

The good effects of this mode of proceeding was not 
however equal to the expectations of these pious fathers. 
Instead of being the means of preventing cruelty and blood- 
shed, it only caused the dissensions between the Indian 
nations to be carried on with a greater degree of violence, 
and with unremitted ardour. The prize they fought for 
being no longer revenge or fame, but the acquirement of 
spirituous liquors, for which their captives were to be ex- 
changed, and of which almost every nation is immoderately 
fond, they sought for their enemies with unwonted alacrity, 
and were constantly on the watch to surprize and carry 
them off. 

It might still be said that fewer of the captives are tor- 
mented and put to death, since these expectations of re- 
ceiving so valuable a consideration for them have been 
excited than there usually had been ; but it does not appear 
that their accustomed cruelty to the warriors they take, is 
in the least abated ; their natural desire of vengeance must 
be gratified ; they now only become more assiduous in 
securing a greater number of young prisoners, whilst those 
who are made captive in their defence are tormented and 
put to death as before. 

The missionaries finding that contrary to their wishes 
their zeal had only served to increase the sale of the noxious 
juices, applied to the Governor of Canada in the year 1693, 
for a prohibition of this baneful trade. An order was 
issued accordingly, but it could not put a total stop to it ; 
the French Couriers de Bois were hardy enough to carry it 
on clandestinely, notwithstanding the penalty annexed to 
a breach of the prohibition was a considerable fine and 

Some who were detected in the prosecution of it with- 
drew into the Indian countries, where they intermarried 

[ 219 ] 

with the natives and underwent a voluntary banishment. 
These, however, being an abandoned and debauched set, 
their conduct contributed very little either towards reform- 
ing the manners of their new relations, or engaging them to 
entertain a favourable opinion of the religion they professed. 
Thus did these indefatigable religious men see their designs 
in some measure once more frustrated. 

However, the emigration was productive of an effect 
which turned out to be beneficial to their nation. By the 
connection of these refugees with the Iroquois, Mississuages, 
Hurons, Miamies, Powtowottomies, Puants, Menomonies, 
Algonkins, &c. and the constant representations these 
various nations received from them of the power and 
grandeur of the French, to the aggrandizement of whose 
monarch, notwithstanding their banishment, they still re- 
tained their habitual inclination, the Indians became in- 
sensibly prejudiced in favour of that people, and I am 
persuaded will take every opportunity of shewing their 
attachment to them. 

And this, even in despite of the disgraceful estimation 
they must be held by them, since they have been driven out 
of Canada ; for the Indians consider every conquered people 
as in a state of vassalage to their conquerors. After one 
nation has finally subdued another, and a conditional submis- 
sion is agreed on, it is customary for the chiefs of the con- 
quered, when they sit in council with their subduers, to wear 
petticoats, as an acknowledgment that they are in a state of 
subjection, and ought to be ranked among the women. 
Their partiality to the French has however taken too deep 
root for time itself to eradicate it. 

[ 220 ] 


Of their Manner of making Pe ace, fyc. 

The wars that are carried on between the Indian nations 
are in general hereditary, and continue from age to age with 
a few interruptions. If a peace becomes necessary, the 
principal care of both parties is to avoid the appearance of 
making the first advances. 

When they treat with an enemy, relative to a suspension 
of hostilities, the chief who is commissioned to undertake 
the negociation, if it is not brought about by the mediation 
of some neighbouring band, abates nothing of his natural 
haughtiness ; even when the affairs of his country are in 
the worst situation, he makes no concessions, but endeav- 
ours to persuade his adversaries that it is their interest to 
put an end to the war. 

Accidents sometimes contribute to bring about a peace 
between nations that otherwise could not be prevailed on to 
listen to terms of accommodation. An instance of this, 
which I heard of in almost every nation I passed through, 
I shall relate. 

About eighty years ago, the Iroquois and Chipeways, two 
powerful nations, were at war with the Ottagaumies and 
Saukies, who were much inferior to their adversaries both 
in numbers and strength. One winter near a thousand of 
the former made an excursion from Lake Ontario, by way of 
Toronto, towards the territories of their enemies. They 
coasted Lake Huron on its east and northern borders, till 
they arrived at the Island of St. Joseph, which is situated 
in the Straights of St. Marie. There they crossed these 
Straights upon the ice about fifteen miles below the falls, 
and continued their route still westward. As the ground 

[ 221 ] 

was covered with snow, to prevent a discovery of their num- 
bers, they marched in a single file, treading in each others 

Four Chipeway Indians, passing that way, observed this 
army, and readily guessed from the direction of their march, 
and the precautions they took, both the country to which 
they were hastening, and their designs. 

Notwithstanding the nation to which they belonged was 
at war with the Ottagaumies, and in alliance with their in- 
vaders, yet from a principle which cannot be accounted for, 
they took an instant resolution to apprize the former of their 
danger. To this purpose they hastened away with their 
usual celerity, and, taking a circuit to avoid discovery, arrived 
at the hunting grounds of the Ottagaumies, before so large a 
body, moving in so cautious a manner, could do. There 
they found a party of about four hundred warriors, some of 
which were Saukies, whom they informed of the approach 
of their enemies. 

The chiefs immediately collected their whole force, and 
held a council on the steps that were to be taken for their 
defence. As they were encumbered with their families, it 
was impossible that they could retreat in time ; they there- 
fore determined to chuse the most advantageous spot, and to 
give the Iroquois the best reception in their power. 

Not far from the place where they then happened to be, 
stood two small lakes, between which ran a narrow neck of 
land about a mile in length, and only from twenty to forty 
yards in breadth. Concluding that the Iroquois intended to 
pass through this defile, the united bands divided their little 
party into two bodies of two hundred each. One of these 
took post at the extremity of the pass that lay nearest to 
their hunting grounds, which they immediately fortified with 
a breast-work formed of palisades ; whilst the other body 
took a compass round one of the lakes, with a design to hem 
their enemies in when they had entered the defile. 

[ 222 ] 

Their stratagem succeeded ; for no sooner had the whole 
of the Iroquois entered the pass, than, being provided with 
wood for the purpose, they formed a similar breast-work on 
the other extremity, and thus enclosed their enemies. 

The Iroquois soon perceived their situation, and immedi- 
ately held a council on the measures that were necessary to 
be pursued to extricate themselves. Unluckily for them a 
thaw had just taken place, which had so far dissolved the 
ice as to render it impassible, and yet there still remained 
sufficient to prevent them from either passing over the lakes 
on rafts, or from swimming across. In this dilemma it was 
agreed that they should endeavour to force one of the breast- 
works ; but they soon found them too well defended to ef- 
fect their purpose. 

Notwithstanding this disappointment, with the usual com- 
posure and unapprehensiveness of Indians, they amused 
themselves three or four days in fishing. By this lime the 
ice being quite dissolved, they made themselves rafts, which 
they were enabled to do by some trees that fortunately grew 
on the spot, and attempted to cross one of the lakes. 

They accordingly set off before day-break ; but the Otta- 
gaumies, who had been watchful of their motions, perceiving 
their design, detached one hundred and fifty men from each 
of their parties, to oppose their landing. These three hun- 
dred marched so expeditiously to the other side of the lake, 
that they reached it before their opponents had gained the 
shore, they being retarded by their poles sticking in the mud. 

As soon as the confederates arrived, they poured in a very 
heavy fire, both from their bows and musquetry, on the Iro- 
quois, which greatly disconcerted them ; till the latter find- 
ing their situation desperate, leaped into the water, and 
fought their way through their enemies. This however they 
could not do without losing more than half their men. 

After the Iroquois had landed, they made good their re- 
treat, but were obliged to leave their enemies masters o( the 

[ 223 ] 

field, and in possession of all the furs they had taken during 
their winter's hunt. Thus dearly did they pay for an un- 
provoked excursion to such distance from the route they 
ought to have pursued, and to which they were only im- 
pelled by a sudden desire of cutting off some of their ancient 

But had they known their strength they might have de- 
stroyed every man of the party that opposed them; which 
even at the first onset was only inconsiderable, and, when 
diminished by the action, totally unable to make any stand 
against them. 

The victorious bands rewarded the Chipeways, who had 
been the means of their success, with a share of the spoils. 
They pressed them to take any quantity they chose of the 
richest of the furs, and sent them under an escort of fifty 
men, to their own country. The disinterested Chipeways, 
as the Indians in general are seldom actuated by mercenary 
motives, for a considerable time refused these presents, but 
were at length persuaded to accept of them. 

The brave and well-concerted resistance here made by 
the Ottagaumies and Saukies, aided by the mediation of the 
Chipeways, who laying aside on this occasion the animosity 
they had so long borne those people approved of the gener- 
ous conduct of their four chiefs, were together the means of 
effecting a reconciliation between these nations ; and in pro- 
cess of time united them all in the bands of amity. 

And I believe that all the Indians inhabiting that extensive 
country, which lies between Quebec, the banks of the Mis- 
sissippi north of the Ouisconsin, and the settlements belong- 
ing to the Hudson's Bay Company, are at present in a state 
of profound peace. When their restless dispositions will 
not suffer them to remain inactive, these northern Indians 
seldom commit hostilities on each other, but make excursions 
to the southward, against the Cherokees, Choctahs, Chick- 
asaws or Illinois. 

[ 224 ] 

Sometimes the Indians grow tired of a war which they 
have carried on against some neighbouring nation for many 
years without much success, and in this case they seek for 
mediators to begin a negotiation. These being obtained, the 
treaty is thus conducted. 

A number of their own chiefs, joined by those who have 
accepted the friendly office, set out together for the country 
of their enemies ; such as are chosen for this purpose, are 
chiefs of the most extensive abilities and of the greatest in- 
tegrity. They bear before them the Pipe of Peace, which 
I need not inform my readers is of the same nature as a Flag 
of Truce among the Europeans, and is treated with the 
greatest respect and veneration, even by the most barbarous 
nations. I never heard of an instance wherein the bearers 
of this sacred badge of friendship were ever treated dis- 
respectfully, or its rights violated. The Indians believe that 
the Great Spirit never suffers an infraction of this kind to go 

The Pipe of Peace, which is termed by the French the 
Calumet, for what reason I could never learn, is about four 
feet long. The bowl of it is made of red marble, and the 
stem of it of a light wood, curiously painted with hieroglyph- 
icks in various colours, and adorned with the feathers of the 
most beautiful birds. I have endeavoured to give as exact 
a representation of it as possible in Plate No. IV. ; but it is 
not in my power to convey an idea of the various tints and 
pleasing ornaments of this much esteemed Indian imple- 

Every nation has a different method of decorating these 
pipes, and they can tell at first sight to what band it belongs. 
It is used as an introduction to all treaties, and great cere- 
mony attends the use of it on these occasions. 

The assistant or aid-du-camp of the great warrior, when 
the chiefs are assembled and seated, fills it with tobacco 
mixed with the herbs before mentioned, taking care at the 


[ 225 ] 

same time that no part of it touches the ground. When it 
is filled, he takes a coal that is thoroughly kindled from a 
fire which is generally kept burning in the midst of the as- 
sembly, and places it on the tobacco. 

As soon as it is sufficiently lighted, he throws off the coal. 
He then turns the stem of it towards the heavens, after this 
towards the earth, and now holding it horizontally moves 
himself round till he has completed a circle : by the first 
action he is supposed to present it to the Great Spirit, whose 
aid is thereby supplicated ; by the second, to avert any mali- 
cious interposition of the evil spirits ; and by the third to 
gain the protection of the spirits inhabiting the air, the earth, 
and the waters. Having thus secured the favour of those 
invisible agents, in whose power they suppose it is either to 
forward or obstruct the issue of their present deliberations, 
he presents it to the hereditary chief, who having taken two 
or three whiffs, blows the smoak from his mouth first to- 
wards heaven, and then around him upon the ground. 

It is afterwards put in the same manner into the mouths 
of the ambassadors or strangers, who observe the same cer- 
emony ; then to the chief of the warriors, and to all the other 
chiefs in turn according to their gradation. During this time 
the person who executes this honourable office holds the 
pipe slightly in his hand, as if he feared to press the sacred 
instrument ; nor does any one presume to touch it but with 
his lips. 

When the chiefs who are intrusted with the commission 
for making peace, approach the town or camp to which they 
are going, they begin to sing and dance the songs and dances 
appropriated to this occasion. By this time the adverse 
party are apprized of their arrival, and divesting themselves 
of their wonted enmity at the sight of the Pipe of Peace, 
invite them to the habitation of the Great Chief, and furnish 
them with every conveniency during the negociation. 

A council is then held ; and when the speeches and de- 



[ 226 ] 

bales are ended, if no obstructions arise to put a stop to the 
treaty, the painted hatchet is buried in the ground as a 
memorial that all animosities between the contending nations 
have ceased, and a peace taken place. Among the ruder 
bands, such as have no communications with the Europeans, 
a war-club painted red is buried instead of the hatchet. 

A belt of wampum is also given on this occasion, which 
serves as a ratification of the peace, and records to the latest 
posterity, by the hieroglyphicks into which the beads are 
formed, every stipulated article in the treaty. 

These belts are made of shells found on the coasts of 
New England and Virginia, which are sawed out into beads 
of an oblong form, about a quarter of an inch long, and round 
like other beads. Being strung on leather strings, and sev- 
eral of them sewed neatly together with fine sinewy threads, 
they then compose what is termed a belt of Wampum. 

The shells are generally of two colours, some white and 
others violet ; but the latter are more highly esteemed than 
the former. They are held in as much estimation by the 
Indians, as gold, silver, or precious stones are by the Euro- 

The belts are composed of ten, twelve, or a greater num- 
ber of strings, according to the importance of the affair in 
agitation, or the dignity of the person to whom it is pre- 
sented. On more trifling occasions, strings of these beads 
are presented by the chiefs to each other, and frequently 
worn by them about their necks, as a valuable ornament. 

[ 227 } 


Of their Games. 

As I have before observed, the Indians are greatly addicted 
to gaming, and will even stake, and lose with composure, all 
the valuables they are possessed of. They amuse themselves 
at several sorts of games, but the principal and most es- 
teemed among them is that of the ball, which is not unlike 
the European game of tennis. 

The balls they use are rather larger than those made use 
of at tennis, and are formed of a piece of deer-skin ; which 
being moistened to render it supple, is stuffed hard with the 
hair of the same creature, and sewed with its sinews. The 
ball-sticks are about three feet long, at the end of which there 
is fixed a kind of racket, resembling the palm of the hand, 
and fashioned of thongs cut from a deerskin. In these they 
catch the ball, and throw it to a great distance, if they are 
not psftyented by some of the opposite party, who fly to in- 
tercept it. 

This game is generally played by large companies, that 
sometimes consist of more than three hundred; and it is not 
uncommon for different banns to play against each other. 

They begin by fixing two poles in the ground at about 
six hundred yards apart, and one of these goals belong to 
each party of the combatants. The ball is thrown up high 
in the centre of the ground, and in a direct line between the 
goals ; towards which each party endeavours to strike it, 
and which ever side first causes it to reach their own goal, 
reckons towards the game. 

They are so exceeding dextrous in this manly exercise, 
that the ball is usually kept flying in different directions by 
the force of the rackets, without touching the ground during 


[ 228 ] 

the whole contention ; for they are not allowed to catch it 
with their hands. They run with amazing velocity in pur- 
suit of each other, and when one is on the point of hurling it 
to a great distance, an antagonist overtakes him, and by a 
sudden stroke dashes down the ball. 

They play with so much vehemence that they frequently 
wound each other, and sometimes a bone is broken ; but not- 
withstanding these accidents there never appears to be any 
spite or wanton exertions of strength to effect them, nor do 
any disputes ever happen between the parties. 

There is another game also in use among them worthy of 
remark, and this is the game of the Bowl or Platter. This 
game is played between two persons only. Each person 
has six or eight little bones not unlike a peach-stone either 
in size or shape, except that they are quadrangular; two of 
the sides of which are coloured black, and the others white. 
These they throw up into the air, from whence they fall into 
a bowl or platter placed underneath, and made to spin round. 

According as these bones present the white or black side 
upwards they reckon the game : he that happens to have 
the greatest number turn up of a similar colour, counts five 
points ; and forty is the game. 

The winning party keeps his place, and the loser yields 
his to another who is appointed by one of the umpires ; for 
a whole village is sometimes concerned in the party, and at 
times one band plays against another. 

During this play the Indians appear to be greatly agitated, 
and at every decisive throw set up a hideous shout. They 
make a thousand contortions, addressing themselves at the 
same time to the bones, and loading with imprecations the 
evil spirits that assist their successful antagonists. At this 
game some will lose their apparel, all the moveables of their 
cabins, and sometimes even their liberty, notwithstanding 
there are no people in the universe more jealous of the lat- 
ter than the Indians are. 

[ 229 ] 


Of their Marriage Ceremonies, fyc. 

The Indians allow of polygamy, and persons of every 
rank indulge themselves in this point. The chiefs in partic- 
ular have a seraglio, which consists of an uncertain number, 
usually from six to twelve or fourteen. The lower ranks 
are permitted to take as many as there is a probability of 
their being able, with the children they may bear, to main- 
tain. It is not uncommon for an Indian to marry two sis- 
ters ; sometimes, if there happen to be more, the whole 
number; and notwithstanding this (as it appears to civilized 
nations) unnatural union, they all live in the greatest har- 

The younger wives are submissive to the elder ; and those 
who have no children, do such menial offices for those who 
are fertile, as causes their situation to differ but little from 
a state of servitude. However they perform every injunc- 
tion with the greatest cheerfulness, in hopes of gaining 
thereby the affection of their husband, that they in their 
turns may have the happiness of becoming mothers, and be 
intitled to the respect attendant on that state. 

It is not uncommon for an Indian, although he takes to 
himself so many wives, to live in a state of continence with 
many of them for several years. Such as are not so fortu- 
nate as to gain the favour of their husband by their submis- 
sive and prudent behaviour, and by that means to share in 
his embraces, continue in their virgin state during the whole 
of their lives, except they happen to be presented by him to 
some stranger chief, whose abode among them will not ad- 
mit of his entering into a more lasting connection. In this 
case they submit to the injunction of their husband without 

[ 230 ] 

murmuring, and are not displeased at the temporary union. 
But if at any time it is known that they take this liberty 
without first receiving his consent, they are punished in the 
same manner as if they had been guilty of adultery. 

This custom is more prevalent among the nations which 
lie in the interior parts, than among those that are nearer 
the settlements, as the manners of the latter are rendered 
more conformable in some points to those of the Europe- 
ans, by the intercourse they hold with them. 

The Indian nations differ but little from each other in 
their marriage ceremonies, and less in the manner of their 
divorces. The tribes that inhabit the borders of Canada, 
make use of the following custom. 

When a young Indian has fixed his inclinations on one 
of the other sex, he endeavours to gain her consent, and if 
he succeeds, it is never known that her parents ever ob- 
struct their union. When every preliminary is agreed on, 
and the day appointed, the friends and acquaintance of 
both parties assemble at the house or tent of the oldest 
relation of the bridegroom, where a feast is prepared on 
the occasion. 

The company who meet to assist at the festival are 
sometimes very numerous ; they dance, they sing, and 
enter into every other diversion usually made use of on 
any of their public rejoicings. When these are finished, all 
those who attended merely out of ceremony depart, and 
the bridegroom and bride are left alone with three or four 
of the nearest and oldest relations of either side; those of 
the bridegroom being men, those of the bride, women. 

Presently the bride, attended by these few friends, hav- 
ing withdrawn herself for the purpose, appears at one of 
the doors of the house, and is led to the bridegroom, who 
stands ready to receive her. Having now taken their sta- 
tion on a mat placed in the centre of the room, they lay 
hold of the extremities of a wand about four feet long, by 

t 231 ] 

which they continue separated, whilst the old men pro- 
nounce some short harangues suitable to the occasion. 

The married couple after this make a public declaration 
of the love and regard they entertain for each other, and 
still holding the rod between them, dance and sing. When 
they have finished this part of the ceremony, they break 
the rod into as many pieces as there are witnesses present, 
who take each a piece, and preserve it with great care. 

The bride is then re-conducted out of the door at which 
she entered, where her young companions wait to attend 
her to her father's house ; there the bridegroom is obliged 
to seek her, and the marriage is consummated. Very often 
the wife remains at her father's house till she has a child, 
when she packs up her apparel, which is all the fortune 
she is generally possessed of, and accompanies her hus- 
band to his habitation. 

When from any dislike a separation takes place, for they 
are seldom known to quarrel, they generally give their 
friends a few days notice of their intentions, and sometimes 
offer reasons to justify their conduct. The witnesses who 
were present at the marriage, meet on the day requested 
at the house of the couple that are about to separate, and 
bringing with them the pieces of rod which they had re- 
ceived at their nuptials, throw them into the fire in the 
presence of all the parties. 

This is the whole of the ceremony required, and the 
separation is carried on without any murmurings or ill- 
will between the couple or their relations ; and after a few 
months they are at liberty to marry again. 

When a marriage is thus dissolved, the children which 
have been produced from it, are equally divided between 
them ; and as children are esteemed a treasure by the In- 
dians, if the number happens to be odd, the woman is 
allowed to take the better half. 

Though this custom seems to encourage fickleness and 

[ 232 ] 

frequent separations, yet there are many of the Indians 
who have but one wife, and enjoy with her a state of con- 
nubial happiness not to be exceeded in more refined socie- 
ties. There are also not a few instances of women pre- 
serving an inviolable attachment to their husbands, except 
in the cases before-mentioned, which are not considered as 
either a violation of their chastity or fidelity. 

Although I have said that the Indian nations differ very 
little from each other in their marriage ceremonies, there 
are some exceptions. The Naudowessies have a singular 
method of celebrating their marriages, which seems to 
bear no resemblance to those made use of by any other 
nation I passed through. When one of their young men 
has fixed on a young woman he approves of, he discovers 
his passion to her parents, who give him an invitation to 
come and live with them in their tent. 

He accordingly accepts the offer, and by so doing en- 
gages to reside in it for a whole year, in the character of a 
menial servant. During this time he hunts, and brings all 
the game he kills to the family ; by which means the father 
has an opportunity of seeing whether he is able to provide 
for the support of his daughter and the children that might 
be the consequence of their union. This however is only 
done whilst they are young men, and for their first wife, 
and not repeated like Jacob's servitudes. 

When this period is expired, the marriage is solem- 
nized after the custom of the country, in the following 
manner: Three or four of the oldest male relations of the 
bridegroom, and as many of the bride's, accompany the 
young couple from their respective tents to an open part 
in the centre of the camp. 

The chiefs and warriors being here assembled to receive 
them, a party of the latter are drawn up in two ranks on 
each side of the bride and bridegroom immediately on 
their arrival. The principal chief then acquaints the whole 

[ 233 ] 

assembly with the design of their meeting, and tells them 
that the couple before them, mentioning at the same time 
their names, are come to avow publicly their intentions of 
living together as man and wife. He then asks the two 
young people alternately, whether they desire that the 
union might take place. Having declared with an audible 
voice that they do so, the warriors fix their arrows, and 
discharge them over the heads of the married pair; this 
done, the chief pronounces them man and wife. 

The bridegroom then turns round, and bending his body, 
takes his wife on his back, in which manner he carries her 
amidst the acclamations of the spectators to his tent. This 
ceremony is succeeded by the most plentiful feast the new 
married man can afford, and songs and dances, according 
to the usual custom, conclude the festival. 

Divorces happen so seldom among the Naudowessies, 
that I had not an opportunity of learning how they are ac- 

Adultery is esteemed by them a heinous crime, and pun- 
ished with the greatest rigour. The husband in these 
cases bites off the wife's nose, and a separation instantly 
ensues. I saw an instance wherein this mode of punish- 
ment was inflicted, whilst I remained among them. The 
children, when this happens, are distributed according to 
the usual custom observed by other nations, that is, they 
are equally divided. 

Among the Indian as well as European nations, there 
are many that devote themselves to pleasure, and notwith- 
standing the accounts given by some modern writers of 
the frigidity of an Indian constitution, become the zealous 
votaries of Venus. The young warriors that are thus dis- 
posed, seldom want opportunities for gratifying their pas- 
sion ; and as the mode usually followed on these occasions 
is rather singular, I shall describe it. 

When one of these young debauchees imagines from the 


[ 234 ] 

behaviour of the person he has chosen for his mistress, that 
he shall not meet with any great obstruction to his suit 
from her, he pursues the following plan. 

It has been already observed, that the Indians acknowl- 
edge no superiority, nor have they any ideas of subordina- 
tion, except in the necessary regulations of their war or 
hunting parties ; they consequently live nearly in a state 
of equality pursuant to the first principles of nature. The 
lover therefore is not apprehensive of any check or con- 
troul in the accomplishment of his purposes if he can find 
a convenient opportunity for completing them. 

As the Indians are also under no apprehension of rob- 
bers, or secret enemies, they leave the doors of their tents 
or huts unfastened during the night, as well as in the day. 
Two or three hours after sunset, the slaves or old people 
cover over the fire, that is generally burning in the midst 
of their apartment, with ashes, and retire to their repose. 

Whilst darkness thus prevails, and all is quiet, one of 
these sons of pleasure, wrapped up closely in his blanket to 
prevent his being known, will sometimes enter the apart- 
ment of his intended mistress. Having first lighted at the 
smothered fire a small splinter of wood, which answers the 
purpose of a match, he approaches the place where she re- 
poses, and gently pulling away the covering from her head, 
jogs her till she awakes. If she then rises up, and blows 
out the light, he needs no further confirmation that his 
company is not disagreeable ; but if, after he has discov- 
ered himself, she hides her head, and takes no notice of 
him, he might rest assured that any further solicitations 
will prove vain, and that it is necessary immediately for 
him to retire. 

During his stay he conceals the light as much as possible 
in the hollow of his hands, and as the tents or rooms of the 
Indians are usually large and capacious, he escapes without 
detection. It is said that the young women who admit 

[ 235 ] 

their lovers on these occasions, take great care, by an im- 
mediate application to herbs, with the potent efficacy of 
which they are well acquainted, to prevent the effects of 
these illicit amours from becoming visible; for should the 
natural consequences ensue, they must for ever remain un- 

The children of the Indians are always distinguished by 
the name of the mother ; and if a woman marries several 
husbands, and has issue by each of them, they are all called 
after her. The reason they give for this is, that as their 
offspring are indebted to the father for their souls, the in- 
visible part of their essence, and to the mother for their 
corporeal and apparent part, it is more rational that they 
should be distinguished by the name of the latter, from 
whom they indubitably derive their being, than by that of 
the father, to which a doubt might sometimes arise whether 
they are justly intitled. 

There are some ceremonies made use of by the Indians 
at the imposition of the name, and it is considered by them 
as a matter of great importance ; but what these are I could 
never learn, through the secresy observed on the occasion. 
I only know that it is usually given when the children have 
passed the state of infancy. 

Nothing can exceed the tenderness shown by them to 
their offspring; and a person cannot recommend himself to 
their favour by any method more certain, than by paying 
some attention to the younger branches of their families. 
I can impute, in some measure, to the presents I made to 
the children of the chiefs of the Naudowessies, the hospita- 
ble reception I met with when among them. 

There is some difficulty attends an explanation of the 
manner in which the Indians distinguish themselves from 
each other. Besides the name of the animal by which every 
nation and tribe is denominated, there are others that are 
personal, and which the children receive from their mother, 

[ 236 ] 

The chiefs are also distinguished by a name that has 
either some reference to their abilities, or to the hieroglyph- 
ick of their families; and these are acquired after they 
arrive at the age of manhood. Such as have signalized 
themselves either in their war or hunting parties, or are 
possessed of some eminent qualification, receive a name that 
serves to perpetuate the fame of these actions, or to make 
their abilities conspicuous. 

Thus the great warrior of the Naudowessies was named 
Ottahtongoomlishcah, that is, the Great Father of Snakes ; 
ottah being in English father, tongoom great, and lishcah a 
snake. Another chief was called Honahpawjatin, which 
means a swift runner over the mountains. And when they 
adopted me a chief among them, they named meShebaygo, 
which signifies a writer, or a person that is curious in ma- 
king hieroglyphicks, as they saw me often writing. 

Of their Religion. 

It is very difficult to attain a perfect knowledge of the 
religious principles of the Indians. Their ceremonies and 
doctrines have been so often ridiculed by the Europeans, 
that they endeavour to conceal them ; and if, after the 
greatest intimacy, you desire any of them to explain to you 
their system of religion, to prevent your ridicule they inter- 
mix with it many of the tenets they have received from 
the French missionaries, so that it is at last rendered an 
unintelligible jargon, and not to be depended upon. 

Such as I could discover among the Naudowessies, for 
they also were very reserved in this point, I shall give my 
readers, without paying any attention to the accounts of 
others. As the religion of that people from their situation 

[ 237 ] 

appears to be totally unadulterated with the superstitions 
of the church of Rome, we shall be able to gain from their 
religious customs a more perfect idea of the original tenets 
and ceremonies of the Indians in general, than from those 
of any nations that approach nearer to the settlements. 

It is certain they acknowledge one Supreme Being or 
Giver of Life, who presides over all things. The Chipe- 
ways call this being Manitou or Kitchi-Manitou ; the 
Naudowessies, Wakon or Tonga- Wakon, that is, the 
Great Spirit ; and they look up to him as the source of 
good, from whom no evil can proceed. They also believe 
in a bad spirit, to whom they ascribe great power, and sup- 
pose that through his means all the evils which befall man- 
kind are inflicted. To him therefore do they pray in their 
distresses, begging that he would either avert their troubles, 
or moderate them when they are no longer avoidable. 

They say that the Great Spirit, who is infinitely good, 
neither wishes or is able to do any mischief to mankind ; 
but on the contrary, that he showers down on them all the 
blessings they deserve ; whereas the evil spirit is continu- 
ally employed in contriving how he may punish the human 
race ; and to do which he is not only possessed of the will, 
but of the power. 

They hold also that there are good spirits of a lesser 
degree, who have their particular departments, in which 
they are constantly contributing to the happiness of 
mortals. These they suppose to preside over all the ex- 
traordinary productions of nature, such as those lakes, 
rivers, or mountains that are of an uncommon magnitude ; 
and likewise the beasts, birds, fishes, and even vegetables 
or stones that exceed the rest of their species in size or sin- 
gularity. To all of these they pay some kind of adoration. 
Thus when they arrive on the borders of Lake Superior, on 
the banks of the Mississippi, or any other great body of 
water, they present to the Spirit who resides there some 

[ 238 ] 

kind of offering, as the prince of the Winnebagoes did when 
he attended me to the Falls of St. Anthony. 

But at the same time I fancy that the ideas they annex to 
the word spirit, are very different from the conceptions 
more enlightened nations entertain of it. They appear to 
fashion to themselves corporeal representations of their 
gods, and believe them to be of a human form, though of a 
nature more excellent than man. 

Of the same kind are their sentiments relative to a futu- 
rity. They doubt not but they shall exist in some future 
state ; they however fancy that their employments there 
will be similar to those they are engaged in here, without 
the labour and difficulty annexed to them in this period of 
their existence. 

They consequently expect to be translated to a delight- 
ful country, where they shall always have a clear uncloud- 
ed sky, and enjoy a perpetual spring ; where the forests 
will abound with game, and the lakes with fish, which 
might be taken without requiring a painful exertion of skill, 
or a laborious pursuit ; in short, that they shall live for 
ever in regions of plenty, and enjoy every gratification 
they delight in here, in a greater degree. 

To intellectual pleasures they are strangers ; nor are 
these included in their scheme of happiness. But they ex- 
pect that even these animal pleasures will be proportioned 
and distributed according to their merit ; the skilful hunter, 
the bold and successful warrior, will be entitled to a greater 
share than those who through indolence or want of skill 
cannot boast of any superiority over the common herd. 

The priests of the Indians are at the same time their 
physicians, and their conjurors; whilst they heal their 
wounds or cure their diseases, they interpret their dreams, 
give them protective charms, and satisfy that desire which 
is so prevalent among them of searching into futurity. 

How well they execute the latter part of their profes- 

[ 239 ] 

sional engagements, and the methods they make use of on 
some of these occasions, I have already shewn in the exer- 
tions of the priest of the Killistinoes, who was fortunate 
enough to succeed in his extraordinary attempt near Lake 
Superior. They frequently are successful likewise in ad- 
ministering the salubrious herbs they have acquired a 
knowledge of; but that the ceremonies they make use of 
during the administration of them contributes to their suc- 
cess, I shall not take upon me to assert. 

When any of the people are ill, the person who is in- 
vested with this triple character of doctor, priest, and ma- 
gician, sits by the patient day and night, rattling in his 
ears a goad-shell filled with dry beans, called a Chichicoue, 
and making a disagreeable noise that cannot be well 

This uncouth harmorr^ one would imagine should disturb 
the sick person, and prevent the good effects of the doc- 
tor's prescription ; but on the contrary they believe that 
the method made use of contributes to his recovery, by 
diverting from his malignant purposes the evil spirit who 
has inflicted the disorder ; or at least that it will take off 
his attention, so that he shall not increase the malady. 
This they are credulous enough to imagine he is constantly 
on the watch to do, and would carry his inveteracy to a 
fatal length if they did not thus charm him. 

I could not discover that they make use of any other re- 
ligious ceremonies than those I have described ; indeed, on 
the appearance of the new moon they dance and sing; but 
it is not evident that they pay that planet any adoration ; 
they only seem to rejoice at the return of a luminary that 
makes the night cheerful, and which serves to light them 
on their way when they travel during the absence of the 

Notwithstanding Mr. Adair has asserted that the nations 
among whom he resided, observe with very little variation 

[ 240 ] 

^11 the rites appointed by the Mosaic Law, I own I could 
never discover among those tribes that lie but a few de- 
grees to the north-west, the least traces of the Jewish 
religion, except it be admitted that one particular female 
custom and their division into tribes, carry with them 
proofs sufficient to establish this assertion. 

The Jesuits and French missionaries have also pretend- 
ed that the Indians had, when they first travelled into 
America, some notions, though these were dark and con- 
fused, of the christian institution ; that they have been 
greatly agitated at the sight of a cross, and given proofs, 
by the impressions made on them, that they were not en- 
tirely unacquainted with the sacred mysteries of Christian- 
ity. I need not say that these are too glaring absurdities 
to be credited, and could only receive their existence from 
the zeal of those fathers, who endtfavoured at once to give 
the public a better opinion of the success of their missions, 
and to add support to the cause they were engaged in. 

The Indians appear to be in their religious principles 
rude and uninstructed. The doctrines they hold are few 
and simple, and such as have been generally impressed on 
the human mind, by some means or other, in the most 
ignorant ages. They however have not deviated, as many 
other uncivilized nations, and too many civilized ones have 
done, into idolatrous modes of worship; they venerate in- 
deed and make offerings to the wonderful parts of the cre- 
ation, as I have before observed ; but whether these rites 
are performed on account of the impression such extraor- 
dinary appearances make on them, or whether they con- 
sider them as the peculiar charge, or the usual places of 
residence of the invisible spirits they acknowledge, I can- 
not positively determine. 

The human mifld in its uncultivated state is apt to 
ascribe the extraordinary occurrences of nature, such as 
earthquakes, thunder, or hurricanes, to the interposition of 

[ 241 ] 

unseen beings ; the troubles and disasters also that are an- 
nexed to a savage life, the apprehensions attendant on a 
precarious subsistence, and those numberless inconveni- 
encies which man in his improved state has found means to 
remedy, are supposed to proceed from the interposition of 
evil spirits ; the savage consequently lives in continual ap- 
prehensions of their unkind attacks, and to avert them has 
recourse to charms, to the fantastic ceremonies of his 
priest, or the powerful influence of his Manitous. Fear 
has of course a greater share in his devotions than grati- 
tude, and he pays more attention to deprecating the wrath 
of the evil than to securing the favour of the good beings. 

The Indians, however, entertain these absurdities in 
common with those of every part of the globe who have 
not been illumined by that religion which only can disperse 
the clouds of superstition and ignorance, and they are as 
free from error as a people can be that has not been 
favoured with its instructive doctrines. 

Of their Diseases, fyc. 

The Indians in general are healthy, and subject but to 
few diseases, many of those that afflict civilized nations, 
and are the immediate consequences of luxury or sloth, 
being not known among them ; however the hardships and 
fatigues which they endure in hunting or war, the inclem- 
ency of the seasons to which they are continually exposed, 
but above all the extremes of hunger, and that voracious- 
ness their long excursions consequently subject them to, 
cannot fail of impairing the constitution, and bringing on 


[ 242 J 

Pains and weaknesses in the stomach and breast are 
sometimes the result of their long fasting, and consump- 
tions of the excessive fatigue and violent exercises they 
expose themselves to from their infancy, before they have 
strength sufficient to support them. But the disorder to 
"which they are most subject, is the pleurisy ; for the re- 
moval of which, they apply their grand remedy and pre- 
servative against the generality of their complaints, 

The manner in which they construct their stoves for this 
purpose is as follows: They fix several small poles in the 
ground, the tops of which they twist together so as to form 
a rotunda : this frame they cover with skins or blankets ; 
and they lay them on with so much nicety, that the air is 
kept from entering through any crevice ; a small space 
being only left just sufficient to creep in at, which is imme- 
diately after closed. In the middle of this confined building 
they place red hot stones, on which they pour water till a 
steam arises that produces a great degree of heat. 

This causes an instantaneous perspiration, which they 
increase as they please. Having continued in it for some 
time, they immediately hasten to the nearest stream, and 
plunge into the water; and, after bathing therein for about 
half a minute, they put on their cloaths, sit down and 
smoak with great composure, thoroughly persuaded that 
the remedy will prove efficacious. They often make use 
of this sudoriferous method to refresh themselves, or to 
prepare their minds for the management of any business 
that requires uncommon deliberation and sagacity. 

They are likewise afflicted with the dropsy and paralytic 
complaints, which, however, are but very seldom known 
among them. As a remedy for these as well as for fevers 
they make use of lotions and decoctions, composed of herbs, 
which the physicians know perfectly well how to compound 
and apply. But they never trust to medicines alone ; they 

[ 243 ] 

always have recourse likewise to some superstitious cere- 
monies, without which their patients would not think the 
physical preparations sufficiently powerful. 

With equal judgment they make use of simples for the 
cure of wounds, fractures, or bruises ; and are able to ex- 
tract by these, without incision, splinters, iron, or any sort 
of matter by which the wound is caused. In cures of this 
kind they are extremely dextrous, and complete them in 
much less time than might be expected from their mode of 

With the skin of a snake, which those reptiles annually 
shed, they will also extract splinters. It is amazing to see 
the sudden efficacy of this application, notwithstanding 
there does not appear to be the least moisture remaining 
in it. 

It has long been a subject of dispute, on what continent 
the venereal disease first received its destructive power. 
This dreadful malady is supposed to have originated in 
America, but the literary contest still remains undecided ; 
to give some elucidation to it I shall remark, that as I could 
not discover the least traces among the Naudowessies with 
whom I resided so long, and was also informed that it was 
yet unknown among the more western nations, I think I 
may venture to pronounce that it had not its origin in 
North America. Those nations that have any communi- 
cation with the Europeans or the southern tribes are greatly 
afflicted with it ; but they have all of them acquired a 
knowledge of such certain and expeditious remedies, that 
the communication is not attended with any dangerous 

Soon after I set out on my travels, one of the traders 
whom I accompanied, complained of a violent gonorrhoea, 
with all its alarming symptoms : this increased to such a 
degree, that by the time we had reached the town of the 
Winnebagoes, he was unable to travel. Having made his 

[ 244 ] 

complaint known to one of the chiefs of that tribe, he told 
him not to be uneasy, for he would engage that by follow- 
ing his advice, he should be able in a few days to pursue 
his journey, and in a little longer time be entirely free from 
his disorder. 

The chief had no sooner said this than he prepared for 
him a decoction of the bark of the roots of the prickly Ash, 
a tree scarcely known in England, but which grows in 
great plenty throughout North America ; by the use of 
which, in a few days he was greatly recovered, and having 
received directions how to prepare it, in a fortnight after 
his departure from this place perceived that he was radi- 
cally cured. 

If from excessive exercise, or the extremes of heat or 
cold, they are affected with pains in their limbs or joints* 
they scarify the parts affected. Those nations who have 
no commerce with Europeans do this with a sharp flint ; 
and it is surprizing to see to how fine a point they have the 
dexterity to bring them ; a lancet can scarcely exceed in 
sharpness the instruments they make of this unmalleable 

They never can be convinced a person is ill, whilst he 
has an appetite ; but when he rejects all kind of nourish- 
ment, they consider the disease as dangerous, and pay 
great attention to it; and during the continuance of the 
disorder, the physician refuses his patient no sort of food 
that he is desirous of. 

Their doctors are not only supposed to be skilled in the 
physical treatment of diseases, but the common people be- 
lieve that by the ceremony of the chichicoue usually made 
use of, as before described, they are able to gain intelligence 
from the spirits of the cause of the complaints with which 
they are afflicted, and are thereby the better enabled to find 
remedies for them. They discover something supernatural 
in all their diseases, and the physic administered must in- 
variably be aided by these superstitions. 

[ 245 ] 

Sometimes a sick person fancies that his disorder arises 
from witchcraft; in this case the physician or juggler is 
consulted, who, after the usual preparations, gives his 
opinion on the state of the disease, and frequently finds 
some means for his cure. But notwithstanding the Indian 
physicians always annex these superstitious ceremonies to 
their prescriptions, it is very certain, as I have already ob- 
served, that they exercise their art by principles which are 
founded on the knowledge of simples, and on experience 
which they acquire by an indefatigable attention to their 

The following story, which I received from a person of 
undoubted credit, proves that the Indians are not only able 
to reason with great acuteness on the causes and symptoms 
of many of the disorders which are attendant on human 
nature, but to apply with equal judgment proper remedies. 

In Penobscot, a settlement in the province of Main, in 
the north-east parts of New England, the wife of a soldier 
was taken in labour, and notwithstanding every necessary 
assistance was given her, could not be delivered. In this 
situation she remained for two or three days, the persons 
around her expecting that the next pang would put an end 
to her existence. 

An Indian woman, who accidently passed by, heard the 
groans of the unhappy sufferer, and enquired from whence 
they proceeded. Being made acquainted with the despe- 
rate circumstances attending the case, she told the in- 
formant, that if she might be permitted to see the person, 
she did not doubt but that she could be of great service 
to her. 

The surgeon that had attended, and the midwife who 
was then present, having given up every hope of preserv- 
ing their patient, the Indian woman was allowed to make 
use of any methods she thought proper. She accordingly 
took a handkerchief, and bound it tight over the nose and 

[ 246 ] 

mouth of the woman : this immediately brought on a suf- 
focation; and from the struggles that consequently ensued 
she was in a few seconds delivered. The moment this was 
atchieved, and time enough to prevent any fatal effect, the 
handkerchief was taken off. The long suffering patient 
thus happily relieved from her pains, soon after perfectly 
recovered, to the astonishment of all those who had been 
witness to her desperate situation. 

The reason given by the Indian for this hazardous method 
of proceeding was, that desperate disorders require despe- 
rate remedies ; that as she observed the exertions of nature 
were not sufficiently forcible to effect the desired conse- 
quence, she thought it necessary to augment their force, 
which could only be done by some mode that was violent 
in the extreme. 


Of the Manner in which they treat their Dead. 

An Indian meets death when it approaches him in his hut, 
with the same resolution he has often faced him in the field. 
His indifference relative to this important article, which is 
the source of so many apprehensions to almost every other 
nation, is truly admirable. When his fate is pronounced 
by the physician, and it remains no longer uncertain, he 
harangues those about him with the greatest composure. 

If he is a chief and has a family, he makes a kind of 
funeral oration, which he concludes by giving to his children 
such advice for the regulation of their conduct as he thinks 
necessary. He then takes leave of his friends, and issues 
out orders for the preparation of a feast, which is designed 
to regale those of his tribe that come to pronounce his 

[ 247 ] 

After the breath is departed, the body is dressed in the 
same attire it usually wore whilst living, his face is painted, 
and he is seated in an erect posture on a mat or skin placed 
in the middle of the hut, with his weapons by his side. His 
relations being seated round, each harangues in turn the 
deceased ; and if he has been a great warrior, recounts his 
heroic actions nearly in the following purport, which in the 
Indian language is extremely poetical and pleasing. 

" You still sit among us, Brother, your person retains its 
" usual resemblance, and continues similar to ours, without 
u any visible deficiency, except that it has lost the power of 
" action. But whither is that breath flown, which a few 
"hours ago sent up smoke to the Great Spirit? Why are 
" those lips silent, that lately delivered to us expressive and 
" pleasing language ? why are those feet motionless, that a 
" short time ago were fleeter than the deer on yonder 
"mountains? why useless hang those arms that could 
" climb the tallest tree, or draw the toughest bow ? Alas ! 
"every part of that frame which we lately beheld with ad- 
" miration and wonder, is now become as inanimate as it 
" was three hundred winters ago. We will not, however, 
" bemoan thee as if thou wast for ever lost to us, or that thy 
" name would be buried in oblivion ; thy soul yet lives in 
" the great Country of Spirits, with those of thy nation that 
" are gone before thee ; and though we are left behind to 
" perpetuate thy fame, we shall one day join thee. Actua- 
" ted by the respect we bore thee whilst living, we now 
" come to tender to thee the last act of kindness it is in our 
" power to bestow : that thy body might not lie neglected 
"on the plain, and become a prey to the beasts of the field, 
" or the fowls of the air, we will take care to lay it with 
" those of thy predecessors who are gone before thee ; 
" hoping at the same time, that thy spirit will feed with 
" their spirits, and be ready to receive ours, when we also 
" shall arrive at the great Country of Souls." 

[ 248 ] 

In short speeches somewhat similar to this does every 
chief speak the praises of his departed friend. When they 
have so done, if they happen to be at a great distance from 
the place of interment appropriated to their tribe, and the 
person dies during the winter season, they wrap the body 
in skins, and lay it on a high stage built for this purpose, or 
on the branches of a large tree, till the spring arrives. 
They then, after the manner described in my Journal, 
carry it, together with all those belonging to the same 
nation, to the general burial-place, where it is interred with 
some other ceremonies that I could not discover. 

When the Naudowessies brought their dead for inter- 
ment to the great cave, I attempted to get an insight into 
the remaining burial rites ; but whether it was on account 
of the stench which arose from so many bodies, the weather 
being then hot, or whether they chose to keep this part of 
their customs secret from me, I could not discover ; I found, 
however, that they considered my curiosity as ill-timed, 
and therefore I withdrew. 

After the interment, the band to which the person be- 
longs, take care to fix near the place such hieroglyphicks 
as shall show to future ages his merit and accomplishments. 
H any of these people die in the summer at a distance from 
the burying-ground, and they find it impossible to remove 
the body before it putrefies, they burn the flesh from the 
bones, and preserving the latter, bury them in the manner 

As the Indians believe that the souls of the deceased em- 
ploy themselves in the same manner in the country of spir- 
its, as they did on earth, that they acquire their food by 
hunting, and have there, also, enemies to contend with, they 
take care that they do not enter those regions defenceless 
and unprovided : they consequently bury with them their 
bows, their arrows, and all the other weapons used either 
in hunting or war. As they doubt not but they will like- 

t 249 J 

wise have occasion both for the necessaries of life, and those 
things they esteem as ornaments, they usually deposit in 
their tombs such skins or stuffs as they commonly made 
their garments of, domestic utensils, and paint for orna- 
menting their persons. 

The near relations of the deceased lament his loss with 
an appearance of great sorrow and anguish ; they weep 
and howl, and make use of many contortions, as they sit in 
the hut or tent around the body, when the intervals between 
the praises of the chiefs will permit. 

One formality in mourning for the dead among the Nau- 
dowessies is very different from any mode 1 observed in 
the other nations through which I passed. The men, to 
show how great their sorrow is, pierce the flesh of their 
arms, above the elbows, with arrows ; the scars of which 
I could perceive on those of every rank, in a greater or 
less degree ; and the women cut and gash their legs with 
sharp broken flints, till the blood flows very plentifully. 

Whilst I remained among them, a couple whose tent was 
adjacent to mine, lost a son of about four years of age. 
The parents were so much affected at the death of their 
favourite child, that they pursued the usual testimonies of 
grief with such uncommon rigour, as through the weight of 
sorrow and loss of blood, to occasion the death of the father. 
The woman, who had hitherto been inconsolable, no sooner 
saw her husband expire, than she dried up her tears, and 
appeared cheerful and resigned. 

As I knew not how to account for so extraordinary a 
transition, I took an opportunity to ask her the reason of it ; 
telling her at the same time, that I should have imagined 
the loss of her husband would rather have occasioned an 
increase of grief, than such a sudden diminution of it. 

She informed me, that as the child was so young when it 
died, and unable to support itself in the country of spirits, 
both she and her husband had been apprehensive that its 


[ 250 ] 

situation would be far from happy ; but no sooner did she 
behold its father depart for the same place, who not only 
loved the child with the tenderest affection, but was a good 
hunter, and would be able to provide plentifully for its sup- 
port, than she ceased to mourn. She added, that she now 
saw no reason to continue her tears, as the child on whom 
she doated was happy under the care and protection of a 
fond father, and she had only one wish that remained un- 
gratified, which was that of being herself with them. 

Expressions so replete with unaffected tenderness, and 
sentiments that would have done honour to a Roman matron, 
made an impression on my mind greatly in favour of the 
people to whom she belonged, and tended not a little to 
counteract the prejudices I had hitherto entertained, in 
common with every other traveller, of Indian insensibility 
and want of parental tenderness. 

Her subsequent conduct confirmed the favourable opinion 
I had just imbibed ; and convinced me, that, notwithstand- 
ing this apparent suspension of her grief, some particles of 
that reluctance to be separated from a beloved relation, 
which is implanted either by nature or custom in every 
human heart, still lurked in hers. I observed that she went 
almost every evening to the foot of the tree, on a branch 
of which the bodies of her husband and child were laid, 
and after cutting off a lock of her hair, and throwing it on 
the ground, in a plaintive melancholy song bemoaned its 
fate. A recapitulation of the actions he might have per- 
formed, had his life been spared, appeared to be her fa- 
vourite theme ; and whilst she foretold the fame that would 
have attended an imitation of his father's virtues, her grief 
seemed to be suspended : — 

" If thou hadst continued with us, my dear Son," would 
she cry, " how well would the bow have become thy hand, 
" and how fatal would thy arrows have proved to the ene- 
" mies of our bands. Thou wouldst often have drank their 

[ 251 ] 

" blood, and eaten their flesh, and numerous slaves would 
* { have rewarded thy toils. With a nervous arm wouldst 
" thou have seized the wounded buffalo, or have combated 
" the fury of the enraged bear. Thou wouldst have over- 
" taken the flying elk, and have kept pace on the mountain's 
11 brow with the fleetest deer. What feats mightest thou 
" not have performed, hadst thou staid among us till age 
" had given thee strength, and thy father had instructed thee 
" in every Indian accomplishment !" In terms like these 
did this untutored savage bewail the loss of her son, and 
frequently would she pass the greatest part of the night in 
the affectionate employ. 

The Indians in general are very strict in the observance 
of their laws relative to mourning for their dead. In some 
nations they cut off their hair, blacken their faces, and sit 
in an erect posture, with their heads closely covered, and 
depriving themselves of every pleasure. This severity is 
continued for several months, and with some relaxations 
the appearance is sometimes kept up for several years. I 
was told that when the Naudovvessies recollected any in- 
cidents of the lives of their deceased relations, even after an 
interval of ten years, they would howl so as to be heard at 
a great distance. They would sometimes continue this 
proof of respect and affection for several hours ; and if it 
happened that the thought occurred, and the noise was be- 
gun towards the evening, those of their tribe who were at 
at hand would join with them. 


A concise Character of the Indians. 

The character of the Indians, like that of other uncivilized 
nations, is composed of a mixture of ferocity and gentleness. 

[ 252 ] 

They are at once guided by passions and appetites, which 
they hold in common with the fiercest beasts that inhabit 
their woods, and are possessed of virtues which do honour 
to human nature. 

In the following estimate I shall endeavour to forget on 
the one hand the prejudices of Europeans, who usually 
annex to the word Indian epithets that are disgraceful to 
human nature, and who view them in no other light than as 
savages and cannibals ; whilst with equal care I avoid any 
partiality towards them, as some must naturally arise from 
the favourable reception I met with during my stay among 

At the same time I shall confine my remarks to the 
nations inhabiting only the western regions, such as the 
Naudowessies, the Ottagaumies, the Chipeways, the Win- 
nebagoes, and the Saukies ; for as throughout that diversity 
of climates, the extensive continent of America is composed 
of, there are people of different dispositions and various 
characters, it would be incompatible with my present un- 
dertaking to treat of all these, and to give a general view 
of them as a conjunctive body. 

That the Indians are of a cruel, revengeful, inexorable 
disposition, that they will watch whole days unmindful of 
the calls of nature, and make their way through pathless, 
and almost unbounded woods, subsisting only on the scanty 
produce of them, to pursue and revenge themselves of an 
enemy ; that they hear unmoved the piercing cries of such 
as unhappily fall into their hands, and receive a diabolical 
pleasure from the tortures they inflict on their prisoners, I 
readily grant ; but let us look on the reverse of this terrify- 
ing picture, and we shall find them temperate both in their 
diet and potations (it must be remembered, that I speak of 
those tribes who have little communication with Europeans) 
that they with-stand, with unexampled patience, the attacks 
of hunger, or the inclemency of the seasons, and esteem 

[ 253 ] 

the gratification of their appetites but as a secondary con- 
sideration. 4 

We shall likewise see them sociable and humane to those 
whom they consider as their friends, and even to their 
adopted enemies ; and ready to partake with them of the 
last morsel, or to risk their lives in their defence. 

In contradiction to the report of many other travellers, 
all of which have been tinctured with prejudice, I can assert, 
that notwithstanding the apparent indifference with which 
an Indian meets his wife and children after a long absence, 
an indifference proceeding rather from custom than insen- 
sibility, he is not unmindful of the claims either of connubial 
or parental tenderness ; the little story I have introduced in 
the preceding chapter of the Naudowessie woman lament- 
ing her child, and the immature death of the father, will 
elucidate this point, and enforce the assertion much better 
than the most studied arguments I can make use of. 

Accustomed from their youth to innumerable hardships, 
they soon become superior to a sense of danger or the 
dread of death ; and their fortitude, implanted by nature, 
and nurtured by example, by precept, and accident, never 
experiences a moment's allay. 

Though slothful and inactive whilst their store of pro- 
vision remains unexhausted, and their foes are at a dis- 
tance, they are indefatigable and persevering in pursuit of 
their game, or in circumventing their enemies. 

If they are artful and designing, and ready to take every 
advantage, if they are cool and deliberate in their coun- 
cils, and cautious in the extreme either of discovering their 
sentiments, or of revealing a secret, they might at the same 
time boast of possessing qualifications of a more animated 
nature, of the sagacity of a hound, the penetrating sight of 
a lynx, the cunning of the fox, the agility of a bounding 
roe, and the unconquerable fierceness of the tyger. 

In their public characters, as forming part of a commu- 

[ 254 ] 

nity, they possess an attachment for that band to which 
they belong, unknown to the inhabitants of any other 
country. They combine, as if they were actuated only by 
one soul, against the enemies of their nation, and banish 
from their minds every consideration opposed to this. 

They consult without unnecessary opposition, or with- 
out giving way to the excitements of envy or ambition, on 
the measures necessary to be pursued for the destruction 
of those who have drawn on themselves their displeasure. 
No selfish views ever influence their advice, or obstruct 
their consultations. Nor is it in the power of bribes or 
threats to diminish the love they bear their country. 

The honour of their tribe, and the welfare of their nation, 
is the first and most predominant emotion of their hearts ; 
and from hence proceed in a great measure all their virtues 
and their vices. Actuated by this, they brave every dan- 
ger, endure the most exquisite torments, and expire tri- 
umphing in their fortitude, not as a personal qualification, 
but as a national characteristic. 

From thence also flow that insatiable revenge towards 
those with whom they are at war, and all the consequent 
horrors that disgrace their name. Their uncultivated 
mind, being incapable of judging of the propriety of an 
action, in opposition to their passions, which are totally in- 
sensible to the controuls of reason or humanity, they know 
not'how to keep their fury within any bounds, and conse- 
quently that courage and resolution, which would other- 
wise do them honour, degenerates into a savage ferocity. 

But this short dissertation must suffice ; the limits of my 
work will not permit me to treat the subject more copi- 
ously, or to pursue it with a logical regularity. The ob- 
servations already made by my readers on the preceding 
pages, will, I trust, render it unnecessary; as by them they 
will be enabled to form a tolerably just idea of the people 
I have been describing. Experience teaches, that anec- 

[ 255 ] 

dotes, and relations of particular events, however trifling 
they might appear, enable us to form a truer judgment of 
the manners and customs of a people, and are much more 
declaratory of their real state, than the most studied and 
elaborate disquisition, without these aids. 

Of their Language, Hieroglyphicks, fyc. 

The principal languages of the natives of North Ameri- 
ca may be divided into four classes, as they consist of such 
as are made use of by the nations of the Iroquois towards 
the eastern parts of it, the Chipeways or Algonkins to the 
north-west, the Naudowessies to the west, and the Chero- 
kees, Chickasaws, &c. to the south. One or other of these 
four are used by all the Indians who inhabit the parts that 
lie between the coast of Labradore north, the Florida 
south, the Atlantic ocean east, and, as far as we can judge 
from the discoveries hitherto made, the Pacific Ocean on 
the west. 

But of all these, the Chipeway tongue appears to be the 
most prevailing ; it being held in such esteem, that the 
chiefs of every tribe, dwelling about the great lakes, or to 
the westward of these on the banks of the Mississippi, with 
those as far south as the Ohio, and as far north as Hud- 
son's Bay, consisting of more than thirty different tribes, 
speak this language alone in their councils, notwithstanding 
each has a peculiar one of their own. 

It will probably in time become universal among all the 
Indian nations, as none of them attempt to make excur- 
sions to any great distance, or are considered as qualified 
to carry on any negociation with a distant band, unless 
they have acquired the Chipeway tongue. 


[ 256 ] 

At present, besides the Chipeways, to whom it is natu- 
ral, the Ottawaws, the Saukies, the Ottagaumies, the Kil- 
listinoes, the Nipegons, the bands about Lake Le PJeuve, 
and the remains of the Algonkins or Gens de Terre, all 
converse in it, with some little variation of dialect ; but 
whether it be natural to these nations, or acquired, I was 
not able to discover. I am however of opinion that the 
barbarous and uncouth dialect of the Winnebagoes, the 
Menomonies, and many other tribes, will become in time 
totally extinct, and this be adopted in its stead. 

The Chipeway tongue is not incumbered with any un- 
necessary tones or accents, neither are there any words in 
it that are superfluous ; it is also easy to pronounce, and 
much more copious than any other Indian language. 

As the Indians are unacquainted with the polite arts, or 
with the sciences, and as they are also strangers to cere- 
mony or compliment, they neither have nor need an infin- 
ity of words wherewith to embellish their discourse. Plain 
and unpolished in their manners, they only make use of 
such as serve to denominate the necessaries or conveni- 
ences of life, and to express their wants, which in a state 
of nature can be but few. 

I have annexed hereto a short vocabulary of the Chipe- 
way language, and another of that of the Naudowessies, 
but am not able to reduce them to the rules of grammar. 

The latter is spoken in a soft accent, without any gut- 
tural sounds, so that it may be learnt with facility, and is 
not difficult either to be pronounced or written. It is 
nearly as copious and expressive as the Chipeway tongue, 
and is the most prevailing language of any on the western 
banks of the Mississippi; being in use, according to their 
account, among all the nations that lie to the north of the 
Messorie, and extend as far west as the shores of the Pa- 
cific Ocean. 

As the Indians are not acquainted with letters, it is very 

[ 257 ] 

difficult to convey with precision the exact sound of their 
words ; I have however endeavoured to write them as 
near to the manner in which they are expressed, as such 
an uncertain mode will admit of. 

Although the Indians cannot communicate their ideas by 
writing, yet they form certain hieroglyphicks, which, in 
some measure, serve to perpetuate any extraordinary 
transaction, or uncommon event. Thus when they are on 
their excursions, and either intend to proceed, or have 
been, on any remarkable enterprize, they peel the bark 
from the trees which lie in their way, to give intelligence 
to those parties that happen to be at a distance, of the path 
they must pursue to overtake them. 

The following instance will convey a more perfect idea 
of the methods they make use of on this occasion, than any 
expressions I can frame. 

When I left the Mississippi, and proceeded up the Chipe- 
way River in my way to Lake Superior, as related in my 
Journal, my guide, who was a chief of the Chipeways that 
dwell on the Ottawaw Lake, near the heads of the river 
we had just entered, fearing that some parties of the Nau- 
dowessies, with whom his nation are perpetually at war, 
might accidentally fall in with us, and before they were 
apprized of my being in company, do us some mischief, he 
took the following steps. 

He peeled the bark from a large tree near the entrance 
of a river, and with wood-coal mixed with bear's-grease, 
their usual substitute for ink, made in an uncouth but ex- 
pressive manner the figure of the town of the Ottagaumies. 
He then formed to the left a man dressed in skins, by 
which he intended to represent a Naudowessie, with a 
line drawn from his mouth to that of a deer, the symbol of 
the Chipeways. After this he depictured still farther to 
the left a canoe as proceeding up the river, in which he 
placed a man sitting with a hat on ; this figure was de- 


[ 258 ] 

signed to represent an Englishman, or myself, and my 
Frenchman was drawn with a handkerchief tied round his 
head, and rowing the canoe ; to ihese he added several 
other significant emblems, among which the Pipe of Peace 
appeared painted on the prow of the canoe. 

The meaning he intended to convey to the Naudowes- 
sies, and which I doubt not appeared perfectly intelligible 
to them, was, that one of the Chipeway chiefs had received 
a speech from some Naudowessie chiefs at the town of the 
Ottagaumies, desiring him to conduct the Englishman, who 
had lately been among them, up the Chipeway river ; and 
that they thereby required, that the Chipeway, notwith- 
standing he was an avowed enemy, should not be molested 
by them on his passage, as he had the care of a person 
whom they esteemed as one of their nation. 

Some authors have pretended that the Indians have ar- 
morial bearings, which they blazon with great exactness, 
and which distinguish one nation from another ; but I never 
could observe any other arms among them than the sym- 
bols already described. 

A short Vocabulary of the Chipeway Language. 

N. B. This people do not make use either of the conso- 
nants F or V. 


Above Spimink 

Abandon Packiton 

Admirable Pilawah 

Afterwards Mipidach 

All Kokinum 

Always Kokali 

Amiss Napitch 

[ 259 ] 












Bag, or tobacco-pouch 






Bear, a 


Bear, a young one 




Beaver's skin 


Be, or to be 




















Brandy, or Rum 







Kipokitie Kousah 








Chief, a 




t 260 ] 

Child, or Children 




Cold, I am 


Come on 


Come to 








Covering, or a Blanket 




Courage * 









Die, to 








Devil, or evil Spirit 


Dog, a little one 


Done, it is done 






Dress the kettle 












wis sine 





[ 261 ] 



Equal, or alike 











Far off 








Few, or little 




Field sown 




Fire, to strike 
















Freeze, to 


Freezes hard 

Kissin Magat 



Fuzee or Gun 



God, or the Great Spirit 

Kitchi Manitou 

Go by water 






Glass, a mirror 


[ 262 ] 



Good for nothing 




General, or Commader 

in ) 


I Kitchi Okimau 


















Hair, human 

Lis sis 

Hair of beasts 
























How many- 




Hut, or House 

Wig- Waum 






[ 263 ] 





Indian Corn 






It might be so 





King, or Chief 






Knife that is crooked 



Thicker emaw 


















Long since 


Land Carriage 




Lie down 











March, to go 


[ 264 ] 









Mortar to pound in 























Not yet 


Not at all 


Nought, good for nothing 











Part, what Part 




Powder, gun, or dust 


Peace, to make 










[ 265 ] 





















Run, to 







Sack, or Bag 


Sea, or large Lake 




Ship, or large Canoe 

Kitchi Cheman 






















Etwah, Etwah 






[ 266 ] 







Sit down 























Too little 


Too much 


Thank you 




To-morrow the day after 











Well then ! 

Tauneendah ! 

What is that ? 

Wawwewin ? 

What now ? 

Quagonie ? 







Who is there ? 

Quagonie Mccubah ? 



[ 267 ] 


















The Numerical Terms of the Chiptways. 






















Mittaussou Pdshik 




Nissou Mittawnaw 


Neau Mittawnaw 


Naran Mittawnaw 


Ningoutwassou Mittawnaw 


Ninchowassou Mittawnaw 


Nissowassou Mittawnaw 


Shongassou Mittawnaw 


Mittaussou Mittawnaw 


( Mittaussou Mittaussou Mil 
I tawnaw. 

[ 268 ] 

A Short Vocabulary of the Naudowessie Language, 












Bear, a 






Child, a 



Child, a 



Come here 























t 269 ] 

Falls of Water 

Owah Menah 








Go away 


God, or the Great Spirit 



Muzah Wakon 










Home, or domestic 





Woshta Teebee 




I, or me 



King, or Chief 










Tongo Meneh 






[ 270 ] 










Muzah Otah 
Mew ah 




Hopiniyahie ! 


Pipe of Peace 



Salt Water 

See, to 





Spirituous Liquors 




Shanuapaw Wakon 


Owah Meneh 




Menis Queah 

Meneh Wakon 

t 271 ] 



















Who is there? 

Tawgodache 1 








You are good 

Washtah Chee 

You are a Spirit 

Wakon Chee 

You are my good Friend 

Washtah Kitchiwah Chee 

No Good 

Hey ah Washtah. 

The Numerical Terms of the Naudowessies. 

One Wonchaw 

Two Noompaw 

Three Yawmonee 

Four Toboh 

Five Sawbuttee 

Six Shawco 

Seven Shawcopee 

Eight Shahindohin 

Nine Nebochunganong 

[ 272 ] 













Wegochunganong Wonchaw 

Wegochunganong Noompaw 

Wegochunganong Yawmonee 

Wegochunganong Toboh 

Wegochunganong Sawbuttee 

Wegochunganong Shawco 

Wegochunganong Shawcopee 

i Wegochunganong Shahin- 
\ dohin 

{ Wegochunganong Nebo- 
\ chunganong 


Wegochunganong Opohng. 

To this short vocabulary of the Naudowessie language, 
I shall adjoin a specimen of the manner in which they 
unite their words. 1 have chosen for this purpose a short 
song, which they sing, with some kind of melody, though 
not with any appearance of poetical measure, when they 
set out on their hunting expeditions : and have given as 
near a translation as the difference of the idioms will 

Meoh accoowah eshtaw paatah negushtawgaw shejah 
menah. Tongo Wakon meoh woshta, paatah accoowah. 
Hopiniyahie oweeh accooyee meoh, woshta patah otoh tohin- 
joh weoh teebee. 

I will arise before the sun, and ascend yonder hill, to see 
the new light chase away the vapours, and disperse the 
clouds. Great Spirit give me success. And when the 
sun is gone, lend me, oh moon, light sufficient to guide me 
with safety back to my tent loaden with deer ! 

[ 273 ] 


Of the Beasts, Birds, Fishes, Reptiles, and Insects, 

ivhich are found in the interior Parts of North America. 

Of these I shall, in the first place, give a catalogue, and 
afterwards a description of such only as are either peculiar 
to this country, or which differ in some material point from 
those that are to be met with in other realms. 


The Tyger, the Bear, Wolves, Foxes, Dogs, the Cat of 
the Mountain, the Wild Cat, the Buffalo, the Deer, the Elk, 
the Moose, the Carrabou, the Carcajou, the Skunk, the 
Porcupine, the Hedge-hog, the Wood-chuck, the Raccoon, 
the Martin, the Fisher, the Muskquaw, Squirrels, Hares, 
Rabbits, the Mole, the Weezel, the Mouse, the Dormouse, 
the Beaver, the Otter, the Mink, and Bats. 

The TYGER. The Tyger of America resembles in 
shape those of Africa and Asia, but is considerably smaller. 
Nor does it appear to be so fierce and ravenous as they 
are. The colour of it is a darkish fallow, and it is entirely 
free from spots. I saw one on an island in the Chipeway 
River, of which I had a very good view, as it was at no 
great distance from me. It sat up on its hinder parts like 
a dog ; and did not seem either to be apprehensive of our 
approach, or to discover any ravenous inclinations. It is 
however very seldom to be met with in this part of the 


[ 274 ] 

The BEAR. Bears are very numerous on this conti- 
nent, but more particularly so in the northern parts of 
it, and contribute to furnish both food and beds for almost 
every Indian nation. Those of America differ in many 
respects from those either of Greenland or Russia, they 
being not only somewhat smaller, but timorous and inoffen- 
sive, unless they are pinched by hunger, or smarting from 
a wound. The sight of a man terrifies them ; and a dog 
will put several to flight. They are extremely fond of 
grapes, and will climb to the top of the highest trees in 
quest of them. This kind of food renders their flesh exces- 
sively rich and finely flavoured ; and it is consequently 
preferred by the Indians and traders to that of any other 
animal. The fat is very white, and besides being sweet 
and wholesome, is possessed of one valuable quality, which 
is, that it never cloys. The inhabitants of these parts con- 
stantly anoint themselves with it, and to its efficacy they 
in a great measure owe their agility. The season for 
hunting the bear is during the winter; when they take up 
their abode in hollow trees, or make themselves dens in the 
roots of those that are blown down, the entrance of which 
they stop up with branches of fir that lie scattered about. 
From these retreats it is said they stir not whilst the 
weather continues severe, and as it is well known that they 
do not provide themselves with food, they are supposed to 
be enabled by nature to subsist for some months without, 
and during this time to continue of the same bulk. 

The WOLF. The wolves of North America are much 
less than those which are met with in other parts of the 
world. They have, however, in common with the rest of 
their species, a wildness in their looks, and a fierceness in 
their eyes ; notwithstanding which they are far from being 
so ravenous as the European wolves, nor will they ever 
attack a man, except they have accidentally fed on the 
flesh of those slain in battle. When they herd together, as 

[ 275 ] 

they often do in the winter, they make a hideous and terri- 
ble noise. In these parts there are two kinds ; one of 
which is of a fallow colour, the other of a dun, inclining to 
a black. 

The FOX. There are two sorts of foxes in North 
America, which differ only in their colour, one being of a 
reddish brown, the other of a grey; those of the latter kind 
that are found near the river Mississippi, are extremely 
beautiful, their hair being of a fine silver grey. 

DOGS. The dogs employed by the Indians in hunting 
appear to be all of the same species ; they carry their ears 
erect, and greatly resemble a wolf about the head. They 
are exceedingly useful to them in their hunting excursions, 
and will attack the fiercest of the game they are in pursuit 
of. They are also remarkable for their fidelity to their 
masters ; but being ill fed by them are very troublesome 
in their huts or tents. 

The CAT of the Mountain. This creature is in shape 
like a cat, only much larger. The hair or fur resembles 
also the skin of that domestic animal ; the colour however 
differs, for the former is of a reddish or orange cast, but 
grows lighter near the belly. The whole skin is beautified 
with black spots of different figures, of which those on the 
back are long, and those on the lower parts round. On the 
ears there are black stripes. This creature is nearly as 
fierce as a leopard, but will seldom attack a man. 

The BUFFALO. This beast, of which there are ama- 
zing numbers in these parts, is larger than an ox, has short 
black horns, with a large beard under his chin, and his head 
is so full of hair, that it falls over his eyes, and gives him a 
frightful look. There is a bunch on his back which begins 
at the haunches, and increasing gradually to the shoulders, 
reaches on to the neck. Both this excrescence and its 
whole body are covered with long hair, or rather wool, of 
a dun or mouse colour, which is exceedingly valuable, 

[ 276 ] 

especially that on the fore part of the body. Its head is 
larger than a bull's, with a very short neck ; the breast is 
broad, and the body decreases towards the buttocks. 
These creatures will run away at the sight of a man, and a 
w T hole herd will make off when they perceive a single dog. 
The flesh of the buffalo is excellent food, its hide extremely 
useful, and the hair very proper for the manufacture of 
various articles. 

The DEER. There is but one species of deer in North 
America, and these are higher and of a slimmer make than 
those in Europe. Their shape is nearly the same as the 
European, their colour of a deep fallow, and their horns 
very large and branching. This beast is the swiftest on 
the American plains, and they herd together as they do in 
other countries. 

The ELK greatly exceeds the deer in size, being in bulk 
equal to a horse. Its body is shaped like that of a deer, 
only its tail is remarkably short, being not more than three 
inches long. The colour of its hair, which is grey, and not 
unlike that of a camel, but of a more reddish cast, is nearly 
three inches in length, and as coarse as that of a horse. 
The horns of this creature grow to a prodigious size, ex- 
tending so wide that two or three persons might sit between 
them at the same time. They are not forked like those of 
a deer, but have all their teeth or branches on the outer 
edge. Nor does the form of those of the elk resemble a 
deer's, the former being flat, and eight or ten inches broad, 
whereas the latter are round and considerably narrower. 
They shed their horns every year in the month of February, 
and by August the new ones are nearly arrived at their 
full growth. Notwithstanding their size, and the means of 
defence nature has furnished them with, they are as timor- 
ous as a deer. Their skin is very useful, and will dress as 
well as that of a buck. They feed on grass in the summer, 
and on moss or buds in the winter. 

[ 277 | 

The MOOSE is nearly about the size of the elk, and the 
horns of it are almost as enormous as that animal's ; the 
stem of them however are not quite so wide, and they branch 
on both sides like those of a deer. This creature also sheds 
them every year. Though its hinder parts are very broad, 
its tail is not above an inch long. It has feet and legs like 
a camel ; its head is about two feet long, its upper lip much 
larger than the under, and the nostrils of it are so wide 
that a man might thrust his hand into them a considerable 
way. The hair of the moose is light grey, mixed with a 
blackish red. It is very elastic, for though it be beaten 
ever so long, it will retain its original shape. The flesh is 
exceeding good food, easy of digestion, and very nourish- 
ing. The nose, or upper lip, which is large and loose from 
the gums, is esteemed a great delicacy, being of a firm 
consistence, between marrow and gristle, and when prop- 
erly dressed, affords a rich and luscious dish. Its hide is 
very proper for leather, being thick and strong, yet soft and 
pliable. The pace of this creature is always a trot, which 
is so expeditious, that it is exceeded in swiftness but by 
few of its fellow inhabitants of these woods. It is generally 
found in the forests, where it feeds on moss and buds. 
Though this creature is of the deer kind, it never herds as 
those do. Most authors confound it with the elk, deer, or 
carrabou, but it is a species totally different, as might be 
discovered by attending to the description I have given of 

The CARRABOU. This beast is not near so tall as the 
moose, however it is something like it in shape, only rather 
more heavy, and inclining to the form of the ass. The 
horns of it are not flat as those of the elk are, but round like 
those of the deer ; they also meet nearer together at the 
extremities, and bend more over the face, than either those 
of the elk or moose. It partakes of the swiftness of the 
deer, and is with difficulty overtaken by its pursuers. 

[ 278 ] 

The flesh of it likewise is equally as good, the tongue par- 
ticularly is in high esteem. The skin being smooth and free 
from veins, is as valuable as shamoy. 

The CARCAJOU. This creature, which is of the cat 
kind, is a terrible enemy to the preceding four species of 
beasts. He either comes upon them from some conceal- 
ment unperceived, or climbs up into a tree, and taking his 
station on some of the branches, waits till one of them, 
driven by an extreme of heat or cold, takes shelter under 
it; when he fastens upon his neck, and opening the jugular 
vein, soon brings his prey to the ground. This he is en- 
abled to do by his long tail, with which he encircles the 
body of his adversary ; and the only means they have to 
shun their fate, is by flying immediately to the water, by 
this method, as the carcajou has a great dislike to that 
element, he is sometimes got rid of before he can effect his 

The SKUNK. This is the most extraordinary animal 
that the American woods produce. It is rather less than a 
pole-cat, and of the same species ; it is therefore often mis- 
taken for that creature, but is very different from it in 
many points. Its hair is long and shining, variegated with 
large black and white spots, the former mostly on the 
shoulders and rurnp; its tail is very bushy, like that of the 
fox, part black, and part white, like its body ; it lives chiefly 
in the woods and hedges. But its extraordinary powers 
are only shewn when it is pursued. As soon as he finds 
himself in danger he ejects, to a great distance from behind, 
a small stream of water, of so subtile a nature, and at the 
same time of so powerful a smell, that the air is tainted 
with it for half a mile in circumference ; and his pursuers, 
whether men or dogs, being almost suffocated with the 
stench, are obliged to give over the pursuit. On this 
account he is called by the French, Enfant du Diable, the 
Child of the Devil ; or Bete Puante, the Stinking Beast. 

[ 279 ] 

It is almost impossible to describe the noisome effects of the 
liquid with which this creature is supplied by nature for 
its defence. If a drop of it falls on your cloaths, they are 
rendered so disagreeable that it is impossible ever after to 
wear them ; or if any of it enters your eyelids, the pain be- 
comes intolerable for a long time, and perhaps at last you 
lose your sight. The smell of the skunk, though thus to be 
dreaded, is not like that of a putrid carcase, but a strong 
foetid effluvia of musk, which displeases rather from its 
penetrating power than from its nauseousness. It is not- 
withstanding: considered as conducive to clear the head 
and to raise the spirits. This water is supposed by natu- 
ralists to be its urine ; but I have dissected many of them 
that I have shot, and have found within their bodies, near 
the urinal vessels, a small receptacle of water, totally dis- 
tinct from the bladder which contained the urine, and from 
which alone I am satisfied the horrid stench proceeds. 
After having taken out with great care the bag wherein 
this water is lodged, I have frequently fed on them, and 
have found them very sweet and good ; but one drop 
emitted taints not only the carcase, but the whole house, 
and renders every kind of provisions that are in it unfit for 
use. With great justice therefore do the French give it 
such a diabolical name. 

The PORCUPINE. The body of an American porcu- 
pine is in bulk about the size of a small dog, but it is both 
shorter in length, and not so high from the ground. It va- 
ries very much from those of other countries both in its 
shape and the length of its quills. The former is like that 
of a fox, except the head, which is not so sharp and long, 
but resembles more that of a rabbit. Its body is covered 
with hair of a dark brown, about four inches long, great 
part of which are the thickness of a straw, and are termed 
its quills. These are white, with black points, hollow, and 
very strong, especially those that grow on the back. The 

[ 280 ] 

quills serve this creature for offensive and defensive weap- 
ons, which he darts at his enemies, and if they pierce the 
flesh in the least degree, they will sink quite into it, and are 
not to be extracted without incision. The Indians use them 
for boring their ears and noses to insert their pendants, and 
also by way of ornament to their stockings, hair, &c. besides 
which they greatly esteem the flesh. 

The WOOD-CHUCK is a ground animal of the fur kind, 
about the size of a martin, being nearly fifteen inches long; 
its body however is rounder, and his legs shorter ; the fore 
paws of it are broad, and constructed for the purpose of 
digging holes in the ground, where it burrows like a rabbit ; 
its fur is of a grey colour on the reddish cast, and its flesh 
tolerable food. 

The RACOON is somewhat less in size than a beaver, 
and its feet and legs are like those of that creature, but 
short in proportion to its body, which resembles that of a 
badger. The shape of its head is much like a fox's, only 
the ears are shorter, more round and naked ; and its hair is 
also similar to that animal's, being thick, long, soft, and black 
at the ends. On its face there is a broad stripe that runs 
across it, and includes the eyes, which are large. Its muz- 
zle is black, and at the end roundish like that of a dog ; the 
teeth are also similar to those of a dog in number and shape ; 
the tail is long and round, with annular stripes on it like 
those of a cat ; the feet have five long slender toes armed 
with sharp claws, by which it is enabled to climb up trees 
like a monkey, and to run to the very extremities of the 
boughs. It makes use of its fore feet in the manner of 
hands, and feeds itself with them. The flesh of this creature 
is very good in the months of September and October, when 
fruit and nuts, on which it likes to feed, are plenty. 

The MARTIN is rather larger than a squirrel, and 
somewhat of the same make ; its legs and claws however 
are considerably shorter. Its ears are short, broad, and 

[ 281 ] 

roundish, and its eyes shine in the night like those of a cat. 
The whole body is covered with fur of a brownish fallow 
colour, and there are some in the more northern parts which 
are black ; the skins of the latter are of much greater value 
than the others. The tail is covered with long hair, which 
makes it appear thicker than it really is. Its flesh is some- 
times eaten, but is not in any great esteem. 

The MUSQUASH, or MUSK-RAT, is so termed for 
the exquisite musk which it affords. It appears to be a 
diminutive of the beaver, being endowed with all the prop- 
erties of that sagacious animal, and wants nothing but size 
and strength, being not much bigger than a large rat of the 
Norway breed, to rival the creature it so much resembles. 
Was it not for its tail, which is exactly the same as that of 
an European rat, the structure of their bodies is so much 
alike, especially trie head, that it might be taken for a small 
beaver. Like that creature it builds itself a cabbin, but of 
a less perfect construction, and takes up its abode near the 
side of some piece of water. In the spring they leave their 
retreats, and in pairs subsist on leaves and roots till the 
summer comes on, when they feed on strawberries, ras- 
berries, and such other fruits as they can reach. At the 
approach of winter they separate, when each takes up its 
lodging apart by itself in some hollow of a tree, where they 
remain quite unprovided with food, and there is the greatest 
reason to believe, subsist without any till the return of spring. 
SQUIRRELS. There are five sorts of squirrels in 
America; the red, the grey, the black, the variegated, and 
the flying. The two former are exactly the same as those 
of Europe ; the black are somewhat larger, and differ from 
them only in colour ; the variegated also resemble them in 
shape and figure, but are very beautiful, being finely striped 
with white or grey, and sometimes with red and black. 
The American flying squirrel is much less than the Euro- 
pean, being not above five inches long, and of a russet grey 


[ 282 ] 

or ash-colour on the back, and white on the under parts, 
It has black prominent eyes like those of the mouse, with 
a long flat broad tail. By a membrane on each side which 
reaches from its fore to its hind legs, this creature is ena- 
bled to leap from one tree to another, even if they stand a 
considerable distance apart ; this loose skin, which it is en- 
abled to stretch out like a sail, and by which it is buoyed 
up, is about two inches broad, and is covered with a fine 
hair or down. It feeds upon the same provisions as the 
others, and is easily tamed. 

The BEAVER. This creature has been so often treat- 
ed of, and his uncommon abilities so minutely described, 
that any further account of it will appear unnecessary ; 
however for the benefit of those of my readers who are not 
so well acquainted with the form and properties of this 
sagacious and useful animal, I shall give a concise descrip- 
tion of it. The beaver is an amphibious quadruped, which 
cannot live for any long time in the water, and it is said is 
even able to exist entirely without it, provided it has the 
convenience of sometimes bathing itself. The largest 
beavers are nearly four feet in length, and about fourteen 
or fifteen inches in breadth over the haunches ; they weigh 
about sixty pounds. Its head is like that of the otter, but 
larger ; its snout is pretty long, the eyes small, the ears 
short, round, hairy on the outside, and smooth within, and 
its teeth very long ; the under teeth stand out of their 
mouths about the breadth of three fingers, and the upper 
half a finger, all of which are broad, crooked, strong, and 
sharp ; besides those teeth called the incisors, which grow 
double, are set very deep in their jaws, and bend like the 
edge of an axe, they have sixteen grinders, eight on each 
side, four above and four below, directly opposite to each 
other. With the former they are able to cut down trees of 
a considerable size, with the latter to break the hardest 
substances. Its legs are short, particularly the fore legs, 

[ 283 ] 

which are only four or five inches long, and not unlike 
those of a badger ; the toes of the fore feet are separate, 
the nails placed obliquely, and are hollow like quills ; but 
the hind feet are quite different, and furnished with mem- 
branes between the toes. By this means it can walk, 
though but slowly, and is able to swim with as much ease 
as any other aquatic animal. The tail has somewhat in it 
that resembles a fish, and seems to have no manner of rela- 
tion to the rest of the body, except the hind feet, all the 
other parts being similar to those of land animals. The 
tail is covered with a skin furnished with scales, that are 
joined together by a pellicle ; these scales are about the 
thickness of parchment, nearly a line and a half in length, 
and generally of a hexagonical figure, having six corners ; 
it is about eleven or twelve inches in length, and broader 
in the middle, where it is four inches over, than either at 
the root or the extremity. It is about two inches thick 
near the body, where it is almost round, and grows grad- 
ually thinner and flatter to the end. The colour of the 
beaver is different according to the different climates in 
which it is found. In the most northern parts they are 
generally quite black ; in more temperate, brown ; their 
colour becoming lighter and lighter as they approach 
towards the south. The fur is of two sorts all over the 
body, except at the feet, where it is very short ; that which 
is the longest is generally in length about an inch, but on 
the back it sometimes extends to two inches, gradually 
diminishing towards the head and tail. This part of the 
fur is harsh, coarse, and shining, and of little use ; the other 
part consists of a very thick and fine down, so soft that it 
feels almost like silk, about three quarters of an inch in 
length, and is what is commonly manufactured. Castor, 
which is useful in medicine, is produced from the body of 
this creature ; it was formerly believed to be its testicles, 
but later discoveries have shown that it is contained in 

[ 284 ] 

four bags situated in the lower belly. Two of which, that 
are called the superior from their being more elevated than 
the others, are filled with a soft resinous adhesive matter, 
mixed with small fibres, greyish without, and yellow with- 
in, of a strong, disagreeable, and penetrating scent, and 
very inflammable. This is the true castoreum ; it hardens 
in the air, and becomes brown, brittle, and friable. The 
inferior bags contain an unctuous liquor like honey; the 
colour of which is a pale yellow, and its odour somewhat 
different from the other, being rather weaker and more dis- 
agreeable ; it however thickens as it grows older, and at 
length becomes about the consistence of tallow. This has 
also its particular use in medicine, but it is not so valuable 
as the true castoreum. 

The ingenuity of these creatures in building their cab- 
bins, and in providing for their subsistence, is truly won- 
derful. When thev are about to chuse themselves a habi- 
tation, they assemble in companies sometimes of two or 
three hundred, and after mature deliberation fix on a place 
where plenty of provisions, and all necessaries are to be 
found. Their houses are always situated in the water, and 
when they can find neither lake nor pond adjacent, they 
endeavour to supply the defect by stopping the current of 
some brook or small river, by means of a causeway or dam. 
For this purpose they set about felling of trees, and they 
take care to chuse out those that grow above the place 
where they intend to build, that they might swim down 
with the current. Having fixed on those that are proper, 
three or four beavers placing themselves round a large 
one, find means with their strong teeth to bring it down. 
They also prudently contrive that it shall fall towards the 
water, that they may have the less way to carry it. After 
they have by a continuance of the same labour and indus- 
try, cut it into proper lengths, they roll these into the 
water, and navigate them towards the place where they 

[ 285 ] 

are to be employed. Without entering more minutely into 
the measures they pursue in the construction of their dams, 
I shall only remark, that having prepared a kind of mortar 
with their feet, and laid it on with their tails, which they 
had before made use of to transport it to the place where 
it is requisite, they construct them with as much solidity 
and regularity as the most experienced workmen could do. 
The formation of their cabins is no less amazing. These 
are either built on piles in the middle of the small lakes 
they have thus formed, on the bank of a river, or at the 
extremity of some point of land that advances into a lake. 
The figure of them is round or oval, and they are fashioned 
with an ingenuity equal to their dams. Two thirds of the 
edifice stands above the water, and this part is sufficiently 
capacious to contain eight or ten inhabitants. Each bea- 
ver has his place assigned him, the floor of which he curi- 
ously strews with leaves, or small branches of the pine 
tree, so as to render it clean and comfortable ; and their 
cabbins are all situated so contiguous to each other, as to 
allow of an easy communication. The winter never sur- 
prizes these animals before their business is completed ; for 
by the latter end of September their houses are finished, 
and their stock of provisions are generally laid in. These 
consist of small pieces of wood whose texture is soft, such 
as the poplar, the aspin, or willow, &c. which they lay up 
in piles, and dispose of in such manner as to preserve their 
moisture. Was I to enumerate every instance of sagacity 
that is to be discovered in these animals, they would fill a 
volume, and prove not only entertaining but instructive. 

The OTTER. This creature also is amphibious, and 
greatly resembles a beaver, but is very different from it in 
many respects. Its body is nearly as long as a beaver's, 
but considerably less in all its parts. The muzzle, eyes, 
and the form of the head are nearly the same, but the teeth 
are very unlike, for the otter wants the large incisors or 

[ 286 ] 

nippers that a beaver has ; instead of these, all his teeth, 
without any distinction, are shaped like those of a dog or 
wolf. The hair also of the former is not half so long as 
that belonging to the latter, nor is the colour of it exactly 
the same, for the hair of an otter under the neck, stomach, 
and belly, is more greyish than that of a beaver, and in 
many other respects it likewise varies. This animal, 
which is met with in most parts of the world, but in much 
greater numbers in North America, is very mischievous, 
and when he is closely pursued, will not only attack dogs 
but men. It generally feeds upon fish, especially in the 
summer, but in the winter is contented with the bark of 
trees, or the produce of the fields. Its flesh both tastes 
and smells of fish, and is not wholsome food, though it is 
sometimes eaten through necessity. 

The MINK is of the otter kind, and subsists in the same 
manner. In shape and size it resembles a pole-cat, being 
equally long and slender. Its skin is blacker than that of 
an otter, or almost any other creature ; " as black as a 
mink," being a proverbial expression in America ; it is not 
however so valuable, though this greatly depends on the 
season in which it is taken. Its tail is round like that of a 
snake, but growing flattish towards the end, and is entirely 
without hair. An agreeable musky scent exhales from its 
body ; and it is met with near the sources of rivers on 
whose banks it chiefly lives. 


The Eagle, the Hawk, the Night Hawk, the Fish Hawk, 
the Whipperwill, the Raven, the Crow, the Owl, Parrots, 
the Pelican, the Crane, the Stork, the Cormorant, the 
Heron, the Swan, the Goose, Ducks, Teal, the Loon, the 
Water-Hen, the Turkey, the Heath Cock, the Partridge, 
the Quail, Pigeons, the Snipe, Larks, the Woodpecker, the 

[ 287 ] 

Cuckoo, the Blue Jay, the Swallow, the Wakon Bird, the 
Black Bird, the Red Bird, the Thrush, the Whetsaw, the 
Nightingale, the King Bird, the Robin, the Wren, and the 
Humming Bird. 

The EAGLE. There are only two sorts of eagles in 
these parts, the bald and the grey, which are much the 
same in size, and similar to the shape of those of other 

The NIGHT HAWK. This Bird is of the hawk 
species, its bill being crooked, its wings formed for swift- 
ness, and its shape nearly like that of the common hawk ; 
but in size it is considerably less, and in colour rather 
darker. It is scarcely ever seen but in the evening, when, 
at the approach of twilight, it flies about, and darts itself in 
wanton gambols at the head of the belated traveller. Be- 
fore a thunder-shower these birds are seen at an amazing 
height in the air assembled together in great numbers, as 
swallows are observed to do on the same occasion. 

The WHIPPERWILL, or as it is termed by the 
Indians, the Muckawiss. This extraordinary bird is some- 
what like the last-mentioned in its shape and colour, only it 
has some whitish stripes across the wings, and like that is 
seldom ever seen till after sun-set. It also is never met 
with but during the spring and summer months. As soon 
as the Indians are informed by its notes of its return, they 
conclude that the frost is entirely gone, in which they are 
seldom deceived ; and on receiving this assurance of milder 
weather, begin to sow their corn. It acquires its name by 
the noise it makes, which to the people of the colonies 
sounds like the name they give it, Whipper-will ; to an 
Indian ear Muck-a-wiss. The words, it is true, are not 
alike, but in this manner they strike the imagination of 
each ; and the circumstance is a proof that the same sounds, 
if they are not rendered certain by being reduced to the 
rules of orthography, might convey different ideas to dif- 

[ 288 ] 

ferent people. As soon as night comes on, these birds will 
place themselves on the fences, stumps, or stones that lie 
near some house, and repeat their melancholy notes with- 
out any variation till midnight. The Indians, and some of 
the inhabitants of the back settlements, think if this bird 
perches upon any house, that it betokens some mishap to 
the inhabitants of it. 

The FISH HAWK greatly resembles the latter in its 
shape, and receives his name from his food, which is gen- 
erally fish ; it skims over the lakes and rivers, and some- 
times seems to lie expanded on the water, as he hovers so 
close to it, and having by some attractive power drawn the 
fish within its reach, darts suddenly upon them. The 
charm it makes use of is supposed to be an oil contained in 
a small bag in the body, and which nature has by some 
means or other supplied him with the power of using for 
this purpose ; it is however very certain that any bait 
touched with a drop of the oil collected from this bird is an 
irresistible lure for all sorts of fish, and insures the angler 
great success. 

The OWL. The only sort of owls that is found on the 
banks of the Mississippi is extremely beautiful in its plu- 
mage, being of a fine deep yellow or gold colour, pleasingly 
shaded and spotted. 

The CRANE. There is a kind of crane in these parts, 
which is called by Father Hennepin a pelican, that is about 
the size of the European crane, of a greyish colour, and 
with long legs ; but this species differs from all others in its 
bill, which is about twelve inches long, and one inch and 
half broad, of which breadth it continues to the end, where 
it is blunted, and round like a paddle ; its tongue is of the 
same length. 

DUCKS. Among a variety of wild ducks, the different 
species of which amount to upwards of twenty, I shall con- 
fine my description to one sort, that is, the wood duck, or, 

[ 289 ] 

as the French term it, Canard branchus. This fowl re- 
ceives its name from its frequenting the woods, and perch- 
ing on the branches of trees, which no other kind of water 
fowl (a characteristic that this still preserves) is known to 
do. It is nearly of a size with other ducks ; its plumage is 
beautifully variegated, and very brilliant. The flesh of it 
also, as it feeds but little on fish, is finely flavoured, and 
much superior to any other sort. 

The TEAL. I have already remarked in my Journal, 
that the teal found on the Fox River, and the head branches 
of the Mississippi, are perhaps not to be equalled for the 
fatness and delicacy of their flesh by any other in the 
world. In colour, shape, and size they are very little dif- 
ferent from those found in other countries. 

The LOON is a water fowl, somewhat less than a teal, 
and is a species of the dobchick. Its wings are short, and 
its legs and feet large in proportion to the body ; the colour 
of it is a dark brown, nearly approaching to black ; and as 
it feeds only on fish, the flesh of it is very ill-flavoured. 
These birds are exceedingly nimble and expert at diving, 
so that it is almost impossible for one person to shoot them, 
as they will dextrously avoid the shot by diving before they 
reach them ; so that it requires three persons to kill one of 
them, and this can only be done the moment it raises his 
head out of the water as it returns to the surface after di- 
ving. It however only repays the trouble taken to obtain it, 
by the excellent sport it affords. 

The PARTRIDGE. There are three sorts of par- 
tridges here, the brown, the red, and the black, the first of 
which are much esteemed. They are all much larger than 
the European partridges, being nearly the size of a hen 
pheasant ; their head and eyes are also like that bird, and 
they have all long tails, which they spread like a fan, but 
not erect ; but contrary to the custom of those in other 
countries, they will perch on the branches of the poplar and 


[ 290 ] 

black birch, on the buds of which they feed early in the 
morning and in the twilight of the evening during the 
winter months, when they are easily shot. 

The WOOD PIGEON, is nearly the same as ours, and 
there is such prodigious quantities of them on the banks of 
the Mississippi, that they will sometimes darken the sun for 
several minutes. 

The WOODPECKER. This is a very beautiful bird ; 
there is one sort whose feathers are a mixture of various 
colours ; and another that is brown all over the body, ex- 
cept the head and neck, which are of a fine red. As this 
bird is supposed to make a greater noise than ordinary at 
particular times, it is conjectured that his cries then denote 

The BLUE JAY. This bird is shaped nearly like the 
European jay, only that its tail is longer. On the top of its 
head is a crest of blue feathers, which is raised or let down 
at pleasure. The lower part of the neck behind, and the 
back, are of a purplish colour, and the upper sides of the 
wings and tail, as well as the lower part of the back and 
rump, are of a fine blue ; the extremities of the wings are 
blackish, faintly tinctured with dark blue on the edges? 
whilst the other parts of the wing are barred across with 
black in an elegant manner. Upon the whole this bird can 
scarcely be exceeded in beauty by any of the winged in- 
habitants of this or other climates. It has the same jetting 
motion that jays generally have, and its cry is far more 

The WAKON BIRD, as it is termed by the Indians, ap- 
pears to be of the same species as the birds of paradise. 
The name they have given it is expressive of its superior 
excellence, and the veneration they have for it ; the wakon 
bird being in their language the bird of the Great Spirit. 
It is nearly the size of a swallow, of a brown colour, shaded 
about the neck with a bright green ; the wings are of a 

[ 291 ] 

darker brown than the body ; its tail is composed of four 
or five feathers, which are three times as long as its body, 
and which are beautifully shaded with green and purple. 
It carries this fine length of plumage in the same manner 
as a peacock does, but it is not known whether it ever 
raises it into the erect position that bird sometimes does. 
I never saw any of these birds in the colonies, but the 
Naudowessie Indians caught several of them when I was 
in their country, and seemed to treat them as if they were 
of a superior rank to any other of the feathered race. 

The BLACK BIRD. There are three sorts of birds in 
North America that bear this name ; the first is the com- 
mon, or as it is there termed, the crow blackbird, which is 
quite black, and of the same size and shape of those in Eu- 
rope, but it has not that melody in its notes which they have. 
In the month of September this sort fly in large flights, and 
do great mischief to the Indian corn, which is at that time 
just ripe. The second sort is the red-wing, which is rather 
smaller than the first species, but like that it is black all 
over its body, except on the lower rim of the wings, where 
it is of a fine bright full scarlet. It builds its nest, and 
chiefly resorts among the small bushes that grow in mead- 
ows and low swampy places. It whistles a few notes, but 
is not equal in its song to the European blackbird. The 
third sort is of the same size as the latter, and is jet black 
like that, but all the upper part of the wing, just below the 
back, is of a fine clear white ; as if nature intended to di- 
versify the species, and to atone for the want of a melodious 
pipe by the beauty of its plumage ; for this also is deficient 
in its musical powers. The beaks of every sort are of a 
full yellow, and the females of each of a rusty black like the 

The RED BIRD is about the size of a sparrow, but with 
a long tail, and is all over of a bright vermilion colour. I 
saw many of them about the Ottawaw Lakes, but I could 

[ 292 ] 

not learn that they sung. I also observed in some other 
parts, a bird of much the same make, that was entirely of a 
fine yellow. 

The WHETS AW is of the cuckoo kind, being like that, 
a solitary bird, and scarcely ever seen. In the summer 
months it is heard in the groves, where it makes a noise 
like the filing of a saw ; from which it receives its name. 

The KING BIRD is like a swallow, and seems to be of 
the same species as the black martin or swift. It is called 
the King Bird because it is able to master almost every 
bird that flies. I have often seen it bring down a hawk. 

The HUMMING BIRD. This beautiful bird, which is 
the smallest of the feathered inhabitants of the air, is about 
the third part the size of a wren, and is shaped extremely 
like it. Its legs, which are about an inch long, appear like 
two small needles, and its body is proportionable to them. 
But its plumage exceeds description. On its head it has a 
small tuft of a jetty shining black ; the breast of it is red, 
the belly white, the back, wings, and tail of the finest pale 
green ; and small specks of gold are scattered with inex- 
pressible grace over the whole : besides this, an almost im- 
perceptible down softens the colours, and produces the 
most pleasing shades. With its bill, which is of the same 
diminutive size as the other parts of its body, it extracts 
from the flowers a moisture which is its nourishment ; over 
these it hovers like a bee, but never lights on them, moving 
at the same time its wings with such velocity that the mo- 
tion of them is imperceptible ; notwithstanding which they 
make a humming noise, from whence it receives its name. 

Of the FISHES which are found in the waters of the 


I have already given a description of those that are taken 
in the great lakes. 

[ 293 ] 

The Sturgeon, the Pout or Cat Fish, the Pike, the Carp, 
and the Chub. 

The STURGEON. The fresh water sturgeon is shaped 
in no other respect like those taken near the sea, except in 
the formation of its head and tail; which are fashioned in 
the same manner, but the body is not so angulated, nor are 
there so many horny scales about it as on the latter. Its 
length is generally about two feet and a half or three feet 
long, but in circumference not proportionable, being a slender 
fish. The flesh is exceedingly delicate and finely flavoured ; 
I caught some in the head waters of the river St. Croix that 
far exceeded trout. The manner of taking them is by 
watching them as they lie under the banks in a clear stream, 
and darting at them with a fish-spear ; for they will not 
take a bait. There is also in the Mississippi, and there 
only, another sort than the species I have described, which 
is similar to it in every respect, except that the upper jaw 
extends fourteen or fifteen inches beyond the under ; this 
extensive jaw, which is of a gristly substance, is three inches 
and half broad, and continues of that breadth, somewhat in 
the shape of an oar, to the end, which is flat. The flesh of 
this fish, however, is not to be compared with the other sort, 
and is not so much esteemed even by the Indians. 

The CAT FISH. This fish is about eighteen inches 
long ; of a brownish colour and without scales. It has a 
large round head, from whence it receives its name, on dif- 
ferent parts of which grow three or four strong sharp horns 
about two inches long. Its fins are also very bony and 
strong, and without great care will pierce the hands of those 
who take them. It weighs commonly about five or six 
pounds ; the flesh of it is excessively fat and luscious, and 
greatly resembles that of an eel in its flavour. 

The CARP and CHUB are much the same as those in 
England, and nearly about the same in size. 

t 294 ] 


The Rattle Snake, the Long Black Snake, the Wall or 
House Adder, the Striped or Garter Snake, the Water 
Snake, the Hissing Snake, the Green Snake, the Thorn-tail 
Snake, the Speckled Snake, the Ring Snake, the Two- 
headed Snake. 

The RATTLE SNAKE. There appears to be two 
species of this reptile; one of which is commonly termed 
the Black, and the other the Yellow ; and of these the lat- 
ter is generally considered as the largest. At their full 
growth they are upwards of five feet long, and the middle 
part of the body at which it is of the greatest bulk, measures 
about nine inches round. From that part it gradually de- 
creases both towards the head and the tail. The neck is 
proportionably very small, and the head broad and de- 
pressed. These are of a light brown colour, the iris of the 
eye red, and all the upper part of the body brown, mixed 
with a ruddy yellow, and chequered with many regular 
lines of a deep black, gradually shading towards a gold 
colour. In short the whole of this dangerous reptile is 
very beautiful, and could it be viewed with less terror, 
such a variegated arrangement of colours would be ex- 
tremely pleasing. But these are only to be seen in their 
highest perfection at the time this creature is animated by 
resentment ; then every tint rushes from its subcutaneous 
recess, and gives the surface of the skin a deeper stain. 
The belly is of a palish blue, which grows fuller as it ap- 
proaches the sides, and is at length intermixed with the 
colour of the upper part. The rattle at its tail, from which 
it receives its name, is composed of a firm, dry, callous, or 
horny substance of a light brown, and consists of a number 
of cells which articulate one within another like joints; and 
which increase every year and make known the age of the 

[ 295 ] 

creature. These articulations being very loose, the in- 
cluded points strike against the inner surface of the con- 
cave parts or rings into which they are admitted, and as 
the snake vibrates or shakes its tail, makes a rattling noise. 
This alarm it always gives when it is apprehensive of dan- 
ger ; and in an instant after forms itself into a spiral 
wreath, in the centre of which appears the head erect, and 
breathing forth vengeance against either man or beast that 
shall dare to come near it. In this attitude he awaits the 
approach of his enemies, rattling his tail as he sees or hears 
them coming on. By this timely intimation, which heaven 
seems to have provided as a means to counteract the mis- 
chief this venomous reptile would otherwise be the perpe- 
trator of, the unwary traveller is apprized of his danger, 
and has an opportunity of avoiding it. It is however to be 
observed, that it never acts offensively ; it neither pursues 
or flies from any thing that approaches it, but lies in the 
position described, rattling his tail as if reluctant to hurt. 
The teeth with which this serpent effects his poisonous 
purposes are not those he makes use of on ordinary occa- 
sions, they are only two in number, very small and sharp 
pointed, and fixed in a sinewy substance that lies near the 
extremity of the upper jaw^ resembling the claws- of a cat; 
at the root of each of these, which might be extended, con- 
tracted, or entirely hidden, as need requires, are two small 
bladders which nature has so constructed, that at the same 
instant an incision is made by the teeth, a drop of a green- 
ish poisonous liquid enters the wound, and taints with its 
destructive quality the whole mass of blood. In a moment 
the unfortunate victim of its wrath feels a chilly tremor run 
through all his frame ; a swelling immediately begins on 
the spot where the teeth had entered, which spreads by 
degrees over the whole body, and produces on every part 
of the skin the variegated hue of the snake. The bite of 
this reptile is more or less venomous according to the sea- 

[ 296 ] 

son of the year in which it is given. In the dog-days, it 
often proves instantly mortal, and especially if the wound 
is made among the sinews situated in the back-part of the 
leg above the heel ; but in the spring, in autumn, or during 
a cool day which might happen in the summer, its bad 
effects are to be prevented by the immediate application of 
proper remedies; and these Providence has bounteously 
supplied, by causing the Rattle Snake Plantain, an ap-* 
proved antidote to the poison of this creature, to grow in 
great profusion where-ever they are to be met with. 
There are likewise several other remedies besides this, for 
the venom of its bite. A decoction made of the buds or 
bark of the white ash taken internally prevents its per- 
nicious effects. Salt is a newly discovered remedy, and if 
applied immediately to the part, or the wound be washed 
with brine, a cure might be assured. The fat of the rep- 
tile also rubbed on it is frequently found to be very effica- 
cious. But though the lives of the persons who have been 
bitten might be preserved by these, and their health in 
some degree restored, yet they annually experience a 
slight return of the dreadful symptoms about the time they 
received the instillation. However remarkable it may 
appear it is certain, that though the venom of this creature 
affects in a greater or less degree all animated nature, the 
hog is an exception to the rule, as that animal will readily 
destroy them without dreading their poisonous fangs, and 
fatten on their flesh. It has been often observed, and I can 
confirm the observation, that the Rattle Snake is charmed 
with any [harmonious sounds, whether vocal or instru- 
mental ; I have many times seen them even when they 
have been enraged, place themselves in a listening posture, 
and continue immoveably attentive and susceptible of de- 
light all the time the musick has lasted. I should have 
remarked, that when the Rattle Snake bites, it drops its 
under jaw, and holding the upper jaw erect, throws itself 

[ 297 ] 

in a curve line, with great force, and as quick as lightning, 
on the object of its resentment. In a moment after, it re- 
turns again to its defensive posture, having disengaged its 
teeth from the wound with great celerity, by means of the 
position in which it had placed its head when it made the 
attack. It never extends itself to a greater distance than 
half its length will reach, and though it sometimes repeats 
the blow two or three times, it as often returns with a sud- 
den rebound to its former state. The Black Rattle Snake 
differs in no other respect from the yellow, than in being 
rather smaller, and in the variegation of its colours, which 
are exactly reversed : one is black where the other is yel- 
low, and vice versa. They are equally venomous. It is 
not known how these creatures engender; I have often 
found the eggs of several other species of the snake, but 
notwithstanding no one has taken more pains to acquire a 
perfect knowledge of every property of these reptiles than 
myself, I never could discover the manner in which they 
bring forth their young. I once killed a female that had 
seventy young ones in its belly, but these were perfectly 
formed, and I saw them just before retire to the mouth of 
their mother, as a place of security, on my approach. The 
gall of this serpent, mixed with chalk, are formed into little 
balls, and exported from America, for medicinal purposes. 
They are of the nature of Gascoign's powders, and are an 
excellent remedy for complaints incident to children. The 
flesh of the snake also dried, and made into broth, is much 
more nutritive than that of vipers, and very efficacious 
against consumptions. 

The LONG BLACK SNAKE. These are also of two 
sorts, both of which are exactly similar in shape and size, 
only the belly of one is a light red, the other a faint blue ; 
all the upper parts of their bodies are black and scaly. 
They are in general from six to eight feet in length, and 
carry their heads, as they crawl along, about a foot and an 


[ 298 j 

half from the ground. They easily climb the highest trees 
in pursuit of birds and squirrels, which are their chief 
food ; and these, it is said, they charm by their looks, and 
render incapable of escaping from them. Their appear- 
ance carries terror with it to those who are unacquainted 
with their inability to hurt, but they are perfectly inoffen- 
sive and free from venom. 

The STRIPED or GARTER SNAKE is exactly the 
same as that species found in other climates. 

The WATER SNAKE is much like the Rattle Snake 
in shape and size, but is not endowed with the same ven- 
omous powers, being quite harmless. 

The HISSING SNAKE I have already particularly 
described, when I treated, in my Journal, of Lake Erie. 

The GREEN SNAKE is about a foot and an half long, 
and in colour so near to grass and herbs, that it cannot be 
discovered as it lies on the ground ; happily however it is 
free from venom, otherwise it would do an infinite deal of 
mischief, as those who pass through the meadows, not 
being able to perceive it, are deprived of the power of 
avoiding it. 

The THORN-TAIL SNAKE. This reptile is found 
in many parts of America, but it is very seldom to be seen. 
It is of a middle size, and receives its name from a thorn- 
like dart in its tail, with which it is said to inflict a mortal 

The SPECKLED SNAKE is an aqueous reptile about 
two feet and an half in length, but without venom. Its 
skin, which is brown and white with some spots of yellow 
in it, is used by the Americans as a cover for the handles 
of whips, and it renders them very pleasing to the sight. 

The RING SNAKE is about twelve inches long ; the 
body of it is entirely black, except a yellow ring which it 
has about its neck, and which appears like a narrow piece 
of riband tied around it. This odd reptile is frequently 
found in the bark of trees, and among old logs. 

[ 299 ] 

The TWO-HEADED SNAKE. The only snake of 
this kind that was ever seen in America, was found about 
the year 1762, near Lake Champlain, by Mr. Park, a gen- 
tleman of New England, and made a present to lord 
Amherst. It was about a foot long, and in shape like the 
common snake, but it was furnished with two heads exactly 
similar, which united at the neck. Whether this was a 
distinct species of snakes, and was able to propagate its 
likeness, or whether it was an accidental formation, I 
know not. 

of this creature is so well known that it is unnecessary 
to describe it. There are seven or eight sorts of them 
in America, some of which are beautifully variegated, even 
beyond description. The shells of many have spots of red, 
green, and yellow in them, and the chequer work is com- 
posed of small squares, curiously disposed. The most 
beautiful sort of these creatures are the smallest, and the 
bite of them is said to be venomous. 


Though there are numerous kinds of this class of the 
animal creation in the country I treat of, I shall only take 
notice of two of them ; which are termed the Swift and the 
Slow Lizard. 

The SWIFT LIZARD is about six inches long, and has 
four legs and a tail. Its body, which is blue, is prettily 
striped with dark lines shaded with yellow; but the end of 
the tail is totally blue. It is so remarkably agile that in an 
instant it is out of sight, nor can its movement be perceived 
by the quickest eye : so that it might more justly be said to 
vanish, than to run away. This species are supposed to 
poison those they bite, but are not dangerous, as they never 
attack persons that approach them, chusing rather to get 
suddenly out of their reach. 

[ 300 ] 

The SLOW LIZARD is of the same shape as the 
Swift, but its colour is brown ; it is moreover of an oppo- 
site disposition, being altogether as slow in its movements 
as the other is swift. It is remarkable that these lizards are 
extremely brittle, and will break off near the tail as easily 
as an icicle. 

Among the reptiles of North America there is a species 
of the toad termed the TREE TOAD, which is nearly of 
the same shape as the common sort, but smaller and with 
longer claws. It is usually found on trees, sticking close 
to the bark, or lying in the crevices of it ; and so nearly 
does it resemble the colour of the tree to which it cleaves, 
that it is with difficulty distinguished from it. These 
creatures are only heard during the twilight of the morn- 
ing and evening, or just before and after a shower of rain, 
when they make a croaking noise somewhat shriller than 
that of a frog, which might be heard to a great distance. 
They infest the woods in such numbers, that their respon- 
sive notes at these times make the air resound. It is only 
a summer animal, and never to be found during the winter. 


The interior parts of North America abound with nearly 
the same insects as are met with in the same parallels of 
latitude ; and the species of them are so numerous and di- 
versified that even a succinct description of the whole of 
them would fill a volume ; I shall therefore confine myself 
to a few, which I believe are almost peculiar to this coun- 
try ; the Silk Worm, the Tobacco Worm, the Bee, the 
Lightning Bug, the Water Bug, and the Horned Bug. 

The SILK WORM is nearly the same as those of France 
and Italy, but will not produce the same quantity of silk. 

The TOBACCO WORM is a caterpillar of the size and 
figure of a silk worm, it is of a fine sea-green colour, on its 

St A iv ^r^ / 

fcyr.y?? I 


. %i0uJnefrcW0ttr//J7'7p 

[ 301 | 

rump it has a sting or horn near a quarter of an inch 

The BEES, in America, principally lodge their honey 
in the earth to secure it from the ravages of the bears, who 
are remarkably fond of it. 

The LIGHTNING BUG or FIRE FLY is about the 
size of a bee, but it is of the beetle kind, having like that 
insect two pair of wings, the upper of which are of a firm 
texture, to defend it from danger. When it flies, and the 
wings are expanded, there is under these a kind of coat, 
constructed also like wings, which is luminous ; and as the 
insect passes on, causes all the hinder part of its body to 
appear like a bright fiery coal. Having placed one of them 
on your hand, the under part only shines, and throws the 
light on the space beneath ; but as soon as it spreads its 
upper wings to fly away, the whole body which lies behind 
them appears illuminated all around. The light it gives is 
not constantly of the same magnitude, even when it flies ; 
but seems to depend on the expansion or contraction of the 
luminous coat or wings, and is very different from that 
emitted in a dark night by dry wood or some kinds of fish, 
it having much more the appearance of real fire. They 
seem to be sensible of the power they are possessed of, and 
to know the most suitable time for exerting it, as in a very 
dark night they are much more numerous than at any other 
time. They are only seen during the summer months of 
June, July, and August, and then at no other time but in 
the night. Whether from their colour, which is a dusky 
brown, they are not then discernible, or from their retiring 
to holes and crevices, I know not, but they are never to be 
discovered in the day. They chiefly are seen in low 
swampy land, and appear like innumerable transient gleams 
of light. In dark nights when there is much lightning, 
without rain, they seem as if they wished either to imitate 
or assist the flashes ; for during the intervals, they are un- 

[ 302 ] 

commonly agile, and endeavour to throw out every ray 
they can collect. Notwithstanding this effulgent appear- 
ance, these insects are perfectly harmless ; you may permit 
them to crawl upon your hand, when five or six, if they 
freely exhibit their glow together, will enable you to read 
almost the smallest print. 

The WATER BUG is of a brown colour, about the size 
of a pea, and in shape nearly oval : it has many legs, by 
means of which it passes over the surface of the water with 
such incredible swiftness that it seems to slide or dart itself 

The HORNED BUG, or, as it is sometimes termed, the 
STAG BEETLE, is of a dusky brown colour, nearly ap- 
proaching to black, about an inch and an half long, and 
half an inch broad. It has two large horns, which grow 
on each side of the head, and meet horizontally, and with 
these it pinches very hard ; they are branched like those 
of a stag, from whence it receives its name. They fly 
about in the evening, and prove very troublesome to those 
who are in the fields at that time. 

I must not omit that the LOCUST is a septennial insect, 
as they are only seen, a small number of stragglers ex- 
cepted, every seven years, when they infest these parts and 
the interior colonies in large swarms, and do a great deal 
of mischief. The years when they thus arrive are de- 
nominated the locust years. 


Of the Trees, Shrubs, Roots, Herbs, Flowers, fyc. 

I shall here observe the same method that I have pur- 
sued in the preceding chapter, and having given a list of 
the trees, &c. which are natives of the interior parts of 

[ 303 ] 

North America, particularize such only as differ from the 
produce of other countries, or, being little known, have not 
been described. 


The Oak, the Pine Tree, the Mapple, the Ash, the Hem- 
lock, the Bass or White Wood, the Cedar, the Elm, the 
Birch, the Fir, the Locust Tree, the Poplar, the Wickopic 
or Suckwic, the Spruce, the Hornbeam, and the Button 
Wood Tree. 

The OAK. There are several sorts of oaks in these 
parts ; the black, the white, the red, the yellow, the grey, 
the swamp oak, and the chesnut oak : the five former vary 
but little in their external appearance, the shape of the 
leaves, and the colour of the bark being so much alike, that 
they are scarcely distinguishable; but the body of the tree 
when sawed discovers the variation, which chiefly consists 
in the colour of the wood, they being all very hard and 
proper for building. The swamp oak differs materially 
from the others both in the shape of the leaf, which is 
smaller, and in the bark, which is smoother ; and likewise 
as it grows only in a moist gravelly soil. It is esteemed 
the toughest of all woods, being so strong yet pliable, that 
it is often made use of instead of whalebone, and is equally 
serviceable. The chesnut oak also is greatly different 
from the others, particularly in the shape of the leaf, which 
much resembles that of the chesnut-tree, and for this rea- 
son it is so denominated. It is neither so strong as the 
former species, or so tough as the latter, but is of a nature 
proper to be split into rails for fences, in which state it will 
endure a considerable time. 

The PINE TREE. That species of the pine tree pe- 
culiar to this part of the continent is the white, the quality 
of which I need not describe, as the timber of it is so well 

[ 304 ] 

known under the name of deals. It grows here in great 
plenty, to an amazing height and size, and yields an excel- 
lent turpentine, though not in such quantities as those in 
the northern parts of Europe. 

The MAPLE. Of this tree there are two sorts, the hard 
and the soft, both of which yield a luscious juice, from 
which the Indians by boiling make very good sugar. The 
sap of the former is much richer and sweeter than the lat- 
ter, but the soft produces a greater quantity. The wood 
of the hard maple is very beautifully veined and curled, 
and when wrought into cabinets, tables, gunstocks, &c. is 
greatly valued. That of the soft sort differs in its texture, 
wanting the variegated grain of the hard ; it also grows 
more strait and free from branches, and is more easily 
split. It likewise may be distinguished from the hard, as 
this grows in meadows and low-lands, that on the hills and 
up-lands. The leaves are shaped alike, but those of the 
soft maple are much the largest, and of a deeper green. 

The ASH. There are several sorts of this tree in these 
parts, but that to which I shall confine my description, is 
the yellow ash, which is only found near the head branches 
of the Mississippi. This tree grows to an amazing height, 
and the body of it is so firm and sound, that the French 
traders who go into that country from Louisiana to pur- 
chase furs make of them periaguays ; this they do by ex- 
cavating them by fire, and when they are completed, con- 
vey in them the produce of their trade to New Orleans, 
where they find a good market both for their vessels and 
cargoes. The wood of this tree greatly resembles that of 
the common ash, but it might be distinguished from any 
other tree by its bark ; the ross or outside bark being near 
eight inches thick, and indented with furrows more than 
six inches deep, which make those that are arrived to a 
great bulk appear uncommonly rough ; and by this pecu- 
liarity they may be readily known. The rind or inside 

[ 305 ] 

bark is of the same thickness as that of other trees, but its 
colour is a fine bright yellow ; insomuch that if it is but 
slightly handled, it will leave a stain on the fingers, which 
cannot easily be washed away ; and if in the spring you 
peel off the bark, and touch the sap, which then rises be- 
tween that and the body of the tree, it will leave so deep a 
tincture that it will require three or four days to wear it 
off. Many useful qualities belonging to this tree I doubt 
not will be discovered in time, besides its proving a valua- 
ble acquisition to the dyer. 

The HEMLOCK TREE grows in every part of Amer- 
ica in a greater or less degree. It is an ever-green of a 
very large growth, and has leaves somewhat like that of 
the yew ; it is however quite useless, and only an incum- 
brance to the ground, the wood being of a very coarse 
grain, and full of wind-shakes or cracks. 

The BASS or WHITE WOOD is a tree of a middling 
size, and the whitest and softest wood that grows ; when 
quite dry it swims on the water like a cork : in the settle- 
ments the turners make of it bowls, trenchers, and dishes, 
which wear smooth, and will last a long time ; but when 
apDlied to any other purpose it is far from durable. 

The WICKOPICK or SUCKWICK appears to be a 
species of the white wood, and is distinguished from it by 
a peculiar quality in the bark, which when pounded and 
moistened with a little water, instantly becomes a matter 
of the consistence and nature of size. With this the Indians 
pay their canoes, and it greatly exceeds pitch or any other 
material usually appropriated to that purpose ; for besides 
its adhesive quality, it is of so oily a nature, that the water 
cannot penetrate through it, and its repelling power abates 
not for a considerable time. 

The BUTTON WOOD is a tree of the largest size, and 
might be distinguished by its bark, which is quite smooth 
and prettily mottled. The wood is very proper for the use 


[ 306 ] 

of cabinet-makers. It is covered with small hard burs 
which spring from the branches, that appear not unlike 
buttons, and from these I believe it receives its name. 


The Butter or Oil Nut, the Walnut, the Hazle Nut, the 
Beech Nut, the Pecan Nut, the Chesnut, the Hickory. 

The BUTTER or OIL NUT. As no mention has been 
made by any authors of this nut, I shall be the more par- 
ticular in my account of it. The tree grows in meadows 
where the soil is rich and warm. The body of it seldom 
exceeds a yard in circumference, is full of branches, the 
twigs of which are short and blunt, and its leaves resemble 
those of the walnut. The nut has a shell like that fruit, 
which when ripe is more furrowed, and more easily 
cracked ; it is also much longer and larger than a walnut, 
and contains a greater quantity of kernel, which is very 
oily, and of a rich agreeable flavour. I am persuaded that 
a much purer oil than that of olives might be extracted 
from this nut. The inside bark of this tree dyes a good 
purple ; and it is said, varies in its shade, being either 
darker or lighter according to the month in which it is 

The BEECH NUT. Though this tree grows exactly 
like that of the same name in Europe, yet it produces nuts 
equally as good as chesnuts ; on which bears, martins, 
squirrels, partridges, turkies, and many other beasts and 
birds feed. The nut is contained, whilst growing, in an 
outside case like that of a chesnut, but not so prickly ; and 
the coat of the inside shell is also smooth like that ; only its 
forn is nearly triangular. Vast quantities of them lie scat- 
tered about in the woods, and supply with food great num- 

[ 307 ] 

bers of the creatures just mentioned. The leaves, which 
are white, continue on the trees during the whole winter. 
A decoction made of them is a certain and expeditious cure 
for wounds which arise from burning or scalding, as well 
as a restorative for those members that are nipped by the 

The PECAN NUT is somewhat of the walnut kind, but 
rather smaller than a walnut, being about the size of a mid- 
dling acorn, and of an oval form ; the shell is easily cracked, 
and the kernel shaped like that of a walnut. This tree 
grows chiefly near the Illinois river. 

The HICKORY is also of the walnut kind, and bears a 
fruit nearly like that tree. There are several sorts of them, 
which vary only in the colour of the wood. Being of a 
very tough nature, the wood is generally used for the 
handles of axes, &c. It is also very good fire-wood, and 
as it burns an excellent sugar distills from it. 


I need not to observe that these are all the spontaneous 
productions of nature, which have never received the ad- 
vantages of ingrafting, transplanting, or manuring. 

The Vine, the Mulberry Tree, the Crab Apple Tree, the 
Plum Tree, the Cherry Tree, and the Sweet Gum Tree. 

The VINE is very common here, and of three kinds ; the 
first sort hardly deserves the name of a grape ; the second 
much resembles the Burgundy grape, and if exposed to the 
sun a good wine might be made from them. The third 
sort resembles Zant currants, which are so frequently used 
in cakes, &c. in England, and if proper care was taken of 
them, would be equal, if not superior, to those of that country. 

[ 308 ] 

The MULBERRY TREE is of two kinds, red and white, 
and nearly of the same size of those of France and Italy, 
and grow in such plenty, as to feed any quantity of silk 

The CRAB APPLE TREE bears a fruit that is much 
larger and better flavoured than those of Europe. 

The PLUM TREE. There are two sorts of plums in 
this country, one a large sort of a purple cast on one side, 
and red on the reverse, the second totally green, and much 
smaller. Both these are of a good flavour, and are greatly 
esteemed by the Indians, whose taste is not refined, but who 
are satisfied with the productions of nature in their unim- 
proved state. 

The CHERRY TREE. There are three sorts of cher- 
ries in this country ; the black, the red, and the sand cherry ; 
the two latter may with more propriety be ranked among 
the shrubs, as the bush that bears the sand cherries almost 
creeps along the ground, and the other rises not above eight 
or ten feet in height ; however I shall give an account of 
them all in this place. The black cherries are about the 
size of a currant, and hang in clusters like grapes ; the trees 
which bear them being very fruitful, they are generally 
loaded, but the fruit is not good to eat, however they give 
an agreeable flavour to brandy, and turn it to the colour of 
claret. The red cherries grow in the greatest profusion, 
and hang in bunches like the black sort just described ; so 
that the bushes which bear them appear at a distance like 
solid bodies of red matter. Some people admire this fruit, 
but they partake of the nature and taste of alum, leaving a 
disagreeable roughness in the throat, and being very astrin- 
gent. As I have already described the sand cherries, which 
greatly exceed the two other sorts both in flavour and size, 
I shall give no further description of them. The wood of 
the black cherry-tree is very useful, and works well into cab- 
inet ware. 

[ 309 ] 


(Copalm) is not only extremely common, but it affords a 
balm, the virtues of which are infinite. Its bark is black 
and hard, and its wood so tender and supple, that when the 
tree is felled, you may draw from the middle of it rods of 
five or six feet in length. It cannot be employed in build- 
ing or furniture, as it warps continually. Its leaf is indented 
with five points like a star. This balm is reckoned by the 
Indians to be an excellent febrifuge, and it cures wounds in 
two or three days. 


The Willow, Shin Wood, Shumack, Sassafras, the Prickly 
Ash, Moose Wood, Spoon Wood, Large Elder, Dwarf 
Elder, Poisonous Elder, Juniper, Shrub Oak, Sweet Fern, 
the Laurel, the Witch Hazle, the Myrtle Wax Tree, Win- 
ter Green, the Fever Bush, the Cranberry Bush, the Goos- 
berry Bush, the Currant Bush, the Whirtle Berry, the Ras- 
berry, the Black Berry, and the Choak Berry. 

The WILLOW. There are several species of the wil- 
low, the most remarkable of which is a small sort that grows 
on the banks of the Mississippi, and some other places ad- 
jacent. The bark of this shrub supplies the beaver with 
its winter food ; and where the water has washed the soil 
from its roots, they appear to consist of fibres interwoven 
together like thread, the colour of which is of an inexpres- 
sibly fine scarlet ; with this the Indians tinge many of the 
ornamental parts of their dress. 

SHIN WOOD. This extraordinary shrub grows in the 
forests, and rising like a vine, runs near the ground for six 
or eight feet, and then takes root again ; in the same man- 
ner taking root, and springing up successively, one stalk 

[ 310 ] 

covers a large space ; this proves very troublesome to the 
hasty traveller, by striking against his shins, and entangling 
his legs ; from which it has acquired its name. 

The SASSAFRAS is a wood well known for its medi- 
cinal qualities. It might with equal propriety be termed 
a tree as a shrub, as it sometimes grows thirty feet high ; 
but in general it does not reach higher than those of 
the shrub kind. The leaves, which yield an agreeable 
fragrance, are large, and nearly separated into three divi- 
sions. It bears a reddish brown berry of the size and shape 
of Pimento, and which is sometimes used in the colonies as 
a substitute for that spice. The bark or roots of this tree 
is infinitely superior to the wood for its use in medicine, 
and I am surprized it is so seldom to be met with, as its 
efficacy is so much greater. 

The PRICKLY ASH is a shrub that sometimes grows 
to the height of ten or fifteen feet, and has a leaf exactly 
resembling that of an ash, but it receives the epithet to its 
name from the abundance of short thorns with which every 
branch is covered, and which renders it very troublesome 
to those who pass through the spot where they grow thick. 
It also bears a scarlet berry, which when ripe, has a fiery 
taste like pepper. The bark of this tree, particularly the 
bark of the roots, is highly esteemed by the natives for its 
medicinal qualities. I have already mentioned one instance 
of its efficacy, and there is no doubt but that the decoction 
of it will expeditiously and radically remove all impurities 
of the blood. 

The MOOSE WOOD grows about four feet high, and is 
very full of branches ; but what renders it worth notice is 
its bark, which is of so strong and pliable a texture, that 
beeing peeled off at any season, and twisted, makes equally 
as good cordage as hemp. 

The SPOON WOOD is a species of the laurel, and the 
wood when sawed resembles box wood. 

[ 311 ] 

The ELDER, commonly termed the poisonous elder, 
resembles the other sorts in its leaves and branches, but it 
grows much straiter, and is only found in swamps and 
moist soils. This shrub is endowed with a very extra- 
ordinary quality, that renders it poisonous to some consti- 
tutions, which it effects if the person only approaches within 
a few yards of it, whilst others may even chew the leaves 
or the rind without receiving the least detriment from them : 
the poison however is not mortal, though it operates very 
violently on the infected person, whose body and head swell 
to an amazing size, and are covered with eruptions, that at 
their height resemble the confluent small-pox. As it grows 
also in many of the provinces, the inhabitants cure its venom 
by drinking saffron tea, and anointing the external parts 
with a mixture composed of cream and marsh mallows. 

The SHRUB OAK is exactly similar to the oak tree, 
both in its wood and leaves, and like that it bears an acorn, 
but it never rises from the ground above four or five feet, 
growing crooked and knotty. It is found chiefly on a dry 
gravelly soil. 

The WJTCH HAZLE grows very bushy, about ten 
feet high, and is covered early in May with numerous 
white blossoms. When this shrub is in bloom, the Indians 
esteem it a further indication that the frost is entirely gone, 
and that they might sow their corn. It has been said, that 
it is possessed of the power of attracting gold or silver, and 
that twigs of it are made use of to discover where the veins 
of these metals lie hid ; but I am apprehensive that this is 
only a fallacious story, and not to be depended on ; how- 
ever that supposition has given it the name of Witch 

The MYRTLE WAX TREE is a shrub about four or 
five feet high, the leaves of which are larger than those of 
the common myrtle, but they smell exactly alike. It bears 
its fruit in bunches like a nosegay, rising from the same 

[ 312 ] 

place in various stalks about two inches long : at the end 
of each of these is a little nut containing a kernel, which is 
wholly covered with a gluey substance, which being boiled 
in water, swims on the surface of it, and becomes a kind of 
green wax ; this is more valuable than bees-wax, being of 
a more brittle nature, but mixed with it makes a good 
candle, which as it burns sends forth an agreeable scent. 

WINTER GREEN. This is an ever-green of the 
species of the myrtle, and is found on dry heaths ; the 
flowers of it are white, and in the form of a rose, but not 
larger than a silver penny ; in the winter it is full of red 
berries about the size of a sloe, which are smooth and 
round ; these are preserved during the severe season by the 
snow, and are at that time in the highest perfection. The 
Indians eat these berries, esteeming them very balsamic, 
and invigorating to the stomach. The people inhabiting 
the interior colonies steep both the sprigs and berries in 
beer, and use it as a diet drink for cleansing the' blood from 
scorbutic disorders. 

The FEVER BUSH grows about five or six feet high ; 
its leaf is like that of a lilach, and it bears a reddish berry 
of a spicy flavour. The stalks of it are excessively brittle. 
A decoction of the buds or wood is an excellent febrifuge, 
and from this valuable property it receives its name. It is 
an ancient Indian remedy for all inflammatory complaints, 
and likewise much esteemed on the same account by the 
inhabitants of the interior parts of the colonies. 

The CRANBERRY BUSH. Though the fruit of this 
bush greatly resembles in size and appearance that of the 
common sort, which grows on a small vine in morasses and 
bogs, yet the bush runs to the height often or twelve feet ; 
but it is very rarely to be met with. As the meadow 
cranberry, being of local growth, and flourishing only in 
morasses, cannot be transplanted or cultivated, the former, 
if removed at a proper season, would be a valuable acquisi- 

[ 313 ] 

tion to the garden, and with proper nurture prove equally 
as good, if not better. 

The CHOAK BERRY. The shrub thus termed by the 
natives grows about five or six feet high, and bears a berry 
about the size of a sloe, of a jet black, which contains 
several small seeds within the pulp. The juice of this 
fruit, though not of a disagreeable flavour, is extremely 
tart, and leaves a roughness in the mouth and throat when 
eaten, that has gained it the name of choak berry. 


Elecampane, Spikenard, Angelica, Sarsaparilla, Ginsang, 
Ground Nuts, Wild Potatoes, Liquorice, Snake Root, Gold 
Thread, Solomon's Seal, Devil's Bit, Blood Root, Onions, 
Garlic, Wild Parsnips, Mandrakes, Hellebore White and 

SPIKENARD, vulgarly called in the colonies Petty- 
Morrell. This plant appears to be exactly the same as the 
Asiatick spikenard, so much valued by the ancients. It 
grows near the sides of brooks in rocky places, and its 
stem, which is about the size of a goose quill, springs up 
like that of angelica, reaching about a foot and an half from 
the ground. It bears bunches of berries in all respects like 
those of the elder, only rather larger. These are of such a 
balsamic nature, that when infused in spirits, they make a 
most palatable and reviving cordial. 

SARSAPARILLA. The root of this plant, which is 
the most estimable part of it, is about the size of a goose 
quill, and runs in different directions, twined and crooked 
to a great length in the ground ; from the principal stem of 
it springs many smaller fibres, all of which are tough and 
flexible. From the root immediately shoots a stalk about 
a foot and an half long, which at the top branches into 


[ 314 ] 

three stems ; each of these has three leaves, much of the 
shape and size of a walnut leaf; and from the fork of each 
of the three stems grows a bunch of bluish white flowers, 
resembling those of the spikenard. The bark of the roots, 
which alone should be used in medicine, is of a bitterish 
flavour, but aromatic. It is deservedly esteemed for its 
medicinal virtues, being a gentle sudorific, and very pow- 
erful in attenuating the blood when impeded by gross 

G1NSANG is a root that was once supposed to grow 
only in Korea, from whence it was usually exported to 
Japan, and by that means found its way to Europe ; but it 
has been lately discovered to be also a native of North 
America, where it grows to as great perfection and is 
equally valuable. Its root is like a small carrot, but not so 
taper at the end ; it is sometimes divided into two or more 
branches, in all other respects it resembles sarsaparilla in 
its growth. The taste of the root is bitterish. In the 
eastern parts of Asia it bears a great price, being there 
considered as a panacea, and is the last refuge of the in- 
habitants in all disorders. When chewed it certainly is a 
great strengthener of the stomach. 

GOLD THREAD. This is a plant of the small vine 
kind, which grows in swampy places, and lies on the 
ground. The roots spread themselves just under the sur- 
face of the morass, and are easily drawn up by handfuls. 
They resemble a large entangled skain of thread of a fine 
bright gold colour ; and I am persuaded would yield a 
beautiful and permanent yellow dye. It is also greatly 
esteemed both by the Indians and colonists as a remedy for 
any soreness in the mouth, but the taste of it is exquisitely 

SOLOMON'S SEAL is a plant that grows on the sides 
of rivers, and in rich meadow land. It rises in the whole 
to about three feet high, the stalks being two feet, when 

[ 315 ] 

the leaves begin to spread themselves and reach a foot fur- 
ther. A part in every root has an impression upon it 
about the size of a sixpence, which appears as if it was 
made by a seal, and from these it receives its name. It is 
greatly valued on account of its being a line purifier of the 

DEVIL's BIT is another wild plant, which grows in the 
fields, and receives its name from a print that seems to be 
made by teeth in the roots. The Indians say that this was 
once an universal remedy for every disorder that human 
nature is incident to; but some of the evil spirits envying 
mankind the possession of so efficacious a medicine gave 
the root a bite, which deprived it of a great part of its 

BLOOD ROOT. A sort of plantain that springs out of 
the ground in six or seven long rough leaves, the veins of 
which are red ; the root of it is like a small carrot both in 
colour and appearance ; when broken, the inside of it is of 
a deeper colour than the outside, and distils several drops 
of juice that look like blood. This is a strong emetic, but 
a very dangerous one. 


Balm, Nettles, Cinque Foil, Eyebright, Sanicle, Plantain, 
Rattle Snake Plantain, Poor Robin's Plantain, Toad Plan- 
tain, Maiden Hair, Wild Dock, Rock Liverwort, Noble 
Liverwort, Bloodwort, Wild Beans, Ground Ivy, Water 
Cresses, Yarrow, May Weed, Gargit, Skunk Cabbage or 
Poke, Wake Robin, Betony, Scabious, Mullen, Wild Pease, 
Mouse Ear, Wild Indigo, Tobacco, and Cat Mint. 

SANICLE has a root which is thick towards the upper 
part, and full of small fibres below ; the leaves of it are 

[ 316 ] 

broad, roundish, hard, smooth, and of a fine shining green ; 
a stalk rises from these to the height of a foot, which is 
quite smooth and free from knots, and on the top of it are 
several small flowers of a reddish white, shaped like a wild 
rose. A tea made of the root is vulnerary and balsamic. 

RATTLE SNAKE PLANTAIN. This useful herb 
is of the plantain kind, and its leaves, which spread them- 
selves on the ground, are about one inch and an half wide, 
and five inches long ; from the centre of these arises a 
small stalk nearly six inches long, which bears a little 
white flower; the root is about the size of a goose quill, 
and much bent and divided into several branches. The 
leaves of this herb are more efficacious than any other part 
of it for the bite of the reptile from which it receives its 
name ; and being chewed and applied immediately to the 
wound, and some of the juice swallowed, seldom fails of 
averting every dangerous symptom. So convinced are 
the Indians of the power of this infallible antidote, that for 
a trifling bribe of spirituous liquor, they will at any time 
permit a rattle snake to drive his fangs into their flesh. It 
is to be remarked that during those months in which the 
bite of these creatures is most venomous, that this remedy 
for it is in its greatest perfection, and most luxuriant in its 

POOR ROBIN's PLANTAIN is of the same species 
as the last, but more diminutive in every respect ; it re- 
ceives its name from its size, and the poor land on which 
it grows. It is a good medicinal herb, and often adminis- 
tered with success in fevers and internal weaknesses. 

TOAD PLANTAIN resembles the common plantain, 
only it grows much ranker, and is thus denominated be- 
cause toads love to harbour under it. 

ROCK LIVERWORT is a sort of liverwort that grows 
on rocks, and is of the nature of kelp or moss. It is es- 
teemed an excellent remedy against declines. 

[ 317 ] 

GARG1T or SKOKEMs a large kind of weed, the 
leaves of which are about six inches long, and two inches 
and an half broad ; they resemble those of spinage in their 
colour and texture, but not in shape. The root is very 
large, from which spring different stalks that run eight or 
ten feet high, and are full of red berries ; these hang in 
clusters in the month of September, and are generally 
called pigeon berries, as those birds then feed on them. 
When the leaves first spring from the ground, after being 
boiled, they are a nutritious and wholesome vegetable, but 
when they are grown nearly to their full size, they acquire 
a poisonous quality. The roots applied to the hands or 
feet of a person afflicted with a fever, prove a very power- 
ful absorbent. 

SKUNK CABBAGE or POKE is an herb that grows 
in moist and swampy places. The leaves of it are about 
a foot long, and six inches broad, nearly oval, but rather 
pointed. The roots are composed of great numbers of 
fibres, a lotion of which is made use of by the people in the 
colonies for the cure of the itch. There issues a strong 
musky smell from this herb, something like the animal of 
the same name before described, and on that account it is 
so termed. 

WAKE ROBIN is an herb that grows in swampy lands ; 
its root resembles a small turnip, and if tasted will greatly 
inflame the tongue, and immediately convert it from its 
natural shape into a round hard substance ; in which state 
it will continue for some time, and during this no other 
part of the mouth will be affected. But when dried, it 
loses its astringent quality, and becomes beneficial to man- 
kind, for if grated into cold water, and taken internally, it 
is very good for all complaints of the bowels. 

WJLU INDIGO is an herb of the same species as that 
from whence indigo is made in the southern colonies. It 
grows in one stalk to the height of five or six inches from 

[ 318 ] 

the ground, when it divides into many branches, from 
which issue a great number of small hard bluish leaves 
that spread to a great breadth, and among these it bears a 
yellow flower; the juice of it has a very disagreeable 

CAT MINT has a woody root, divided into several 
branches, and it sends forth a stalk about three feet hio-h : 
the leaves are like those of the nettle or betony, and they 
have a strong smell of mint, with a biting acrid taste ; the 
flowers grow on the tops of the branches, and are of a 
faint purple or whitish colour. It is called cat mint, be- 
cause it is said that cats have an antipathy to it, and will 
not let it grow. It has nearly the virtues of common 


Heart's Ease, Lilies red and yellow, Pond Lilies, Cow- 
slips, May Flowers, Jessamine, Honeysuckles, Rock Honey- 
suckles, Roses red and white, Wild Hollyhock, Wild Pinks, 
Golden Rod. 

I shall not enter into a minute description of the flowers 
above recited, but only just observe, that they resemble 
those of the same name which grow in Europe, and are as 
beautiful in colour, and as perfect in odour, as they can be 
supposed to be in their wild uncultivated state. 


Maize or Indian Corn, Wild Rice, Beans, the Squash, 
&c. ;j 

* For an account of Tobacco, see a treatise I have published on the cul- 
ture of that plant. _ _ _ . 

[ 319 j 

MAIZE or INDIAN CORN grows from six to ten feet 
high, on a stalk full of joints, which is stiff and solid, and 
when green, abounding with a sweet juice. The leaves are 
like those of the reed, about two feet in length, and three or 
four inches broad. The flowers, which are produced at 
some distance from the fruit on the same plant, grow like 
the ears of oats, and are sometimes white, yellow, or of a 
purple colour. The seeds are as large as peas, and like 
them quite naked and smooth, but of a roundish surface, 
rather compressed. One spike generally consists of about 
six hundred grains, which are placed closely together in 
rows to the number of eight or ten, and sometimes twelve. 
This corn is very wholesome, easy of digestion, and 
yields as good nourishment as any other sort. After the 
Indians have reduced it into meal by pounding it, they 
make cakes of it and bake them before the fire. I have 
already mentioned that some nations eat it in cakes before 
it is ripe, in which state it is very agreeable to the palate 
and extremely nutritive. 

WILD RICE. This grain, which grows in the greatest 
plenty throughout the interior parts of North America, is 
the most valuable of all the spontaneous productions of that 
country. Exclusive of its utility, as a supply of food for those 
of the human species who inhabit this part of the continent, 
and obtained without any other trouble than that of gather- 
ing it in, the sweetness and nutritious quality of it attracts 
an infinite number of wild fowl of every kind, which flock 
from distant climes to enjoy this rare repast ; and by it be- 
come inexpressibly fat and delicious. In future periods it 
will be of great service to the infant colonies, and it will 
afford them a present support, until in the course of culti- 
vation other supplies may be produced ; whereas in those 
realms which are not furnished with this bounteous gift of 
nature, even if the climate is temperate and the soil good, 
the first settlers are often exposed to great hardships from 

[ 320 ] 

the want of an immediate resource for necessary food. 
This useful grain grows in the water where it is about two 
feet deep, and where it finds a rich muddy soil. The stalks 
of it, and the branches or ears that bear the seed, resemble 
oats both in their appearance and manner of growing. 
The stalks are full of joints, and rise more than eight feet 
above the water. The natives gather the grain in the fol- 
lowing manner: nearly about the time that it begins to turn 
from its milky state and to ripen, they run their canoes into 
the midst of it, and tying bunches of it together just below 
the ears with bark, leave it in this situation three or four 
weeks longer, till it is perfectly ripe. About the latter end 
of September they return to the river, when each family 
having its separate allotment, and being able to distinguish 
their own property by the manner of fastening the sheaves, 
gather in the portion that belongs to them. This they do 
by placing their canoes close to the bunches of rice, in such 
position as to receive the grain when it falls, and then beat 
it out, with pieces of wood formed for that purpose. Hav- 
ing done this, they dry it with smoke, and afterwards tread 
or rub off the outside husk ; when it is fit for use they put 
it into the skins of fawns or young buffalos taken off nearly 
whole for this purpose and sewed into a sort of sack, 
wherein they preserve it till the return of their harvest. 
It has been the subject of much speculation why this spon- 
taneous grain is not found in any other regions of America, 
or in those countries situated in the same parallels of lati- 
tude, where the waters are as apparently adapted for its 
grow-th as in the climates I treat of. As for instance, none 
of the countries that lie to the south and east of the great 
lakes, even from the province north of the Carolinas to the 
extremities of Labradore, produce any of this grain. It is 
true I found great quantities of it in the watered lands near 
Detroit, between Lake Huron and Lake Erie, but on 
enquiry I learned that it never arrived nearer to maturity 

[ 321 ] 

than just to blossom ; after which it appeared blighted, and 
died away. This convinces me that the north-west wind, 
as I have before hinted, is much more powerful in these 
than in the interior parts; and that it is more inimical to 
the fruits of the earth, after it has passed over the lakes and 
become united with the wind which joins it from the frozen 
regions of the north, than it is farther to the westward. 

BEANS. These are nearly of the same shape as the 
European beans, but are not much larger than the smallest 
size of them. They are boiled by the Indians and eaten 
chiefly with bear's flesh. 

The SQUASH. They have also several species of the 
MELON or PUMPKIN, which by some are called 
Squashes, and which serve many nations partly as a sub- 
stitute for bread. Of these there is the round, the crane- 
neck, the small flat, and the large oblong squash. The 
smaller sorts being boiled, are eaten during the summer as 
vegetables ; and are all of a pleasing flavour. The crane- 
neck, which greatly excells all the others, are usually hung 
up for a winter's store, and in this manner might be pre- 
served for several months. 



The countries that lie between the great lakes and River 
Mississippi, and from thence southward to West Florida, 
although in the midst of a large continent, and at a great 
distance from the sea, are so situated, that a communication 
between them and other realms might conveniently be 
opened ; by which means those empires or. colonies that 
may hereafter be founded or planted therein, will be rendered 
commercial ones. The great River Mississippi, which runs 
through the whole of them, will enable their inhabitants to 
establish an intercourse with foreign climes, equally as well 
as the Euphrates, the Nile, the Danube, or the Wolga do 
those people which dwell on their banks, and who have no 
other convenience for exporting the produce of their own 
country, or for importing those of others, than boats and ves- 
sels of light burden : notwithstanding which they have be- 
come powerful and opulent states. 

The Mississippi, as I have before observed, runs from 
north to south, arid passes through the most fertile and tem- 
perate part of North America, excluding only the extremities 
of it, which verge both on the torrid and frigid zones. Thus 
favourably situated, when once its banks are covered with 
inhabitants, they need not long be at a loss for means to es- 
tablish an extensive and profitable commerce. They will 
find the country towards the south almost spontaneously 
producing silk, cotton, indico, and tobacco; and the more 
northern parts, wine, oil, beef, tallow, skins, buffalo-wool, 
and furs ; with lead, copper, iron, coals, lumber, corn, rice, 
and fruits, besides earth and barks for dying. 

[ 324 ] 

These articles, with which it abounds even to profusion, 
may be transported to the ocean through this river without 
greater difficulty than that which attends the conveyance of 
merchandize down some of those I have just mentioned. It 
is true that the Mississippi being the boundary between the 
English and Spanish settlements, and the Spaniards in pos- 
session of the mouth of it, they may obstruct the passage of 
it, and greatly dishearten those who make the first attempts ; 
yet when the advantages that will certainly arise to settlers 
are known, multitudes of adventurers, allured by the prospect 
of such abundant riches, will flock to it, and establish them- 
selves, though at the expence of rivers of blood. 

But should the nation that happens to be in possession of 
New Orleans prove unfriendly to the internal settlers, they 
may find a way into the Gulph of Mexico by the river Iber- 
ville, which empties itself from the Mississippi, after passing 
through Lake Maurepas, into Lake Ponchartrain ; which has 
a communication with the sea within the borders of West 
Florida. The River Iberville branches off from the Missis- 
sippi about eighty miles above New Orleans, and though it 
is at present choaked up in some parts, it might at an incon- 
siderable expence be made navigable so as to answer all the 
purposes proposed. 

Although the English have acquired since the last peace 
a more extensive knowledge of the interior parts than were 
ever obtained before, even by the French, yet many of their 
productions still remain unknown. And though I was not 
deficient either in assiduity or attention during the short time 
I remained in them, yet I must acknowledge that the intel- 
ligence I gained was not so perfect as I could wish, and that 
it requires further researches to make the world thoroughly 
acquainted with the real value of these long hidden realms. 

The parts of the Mississippi of which no survey have hith- 
erto been taken, amount to upwards of eight hundred miles, 
following the course of the stream, that is, from the Illinois 

[ 325 ] ? 

to the Ouisconsin Rivers. Those which lie to the north of 
the latter are included in the map of my travels. Plans of 
such as reach from the former to the Gulf of Mexico, have 
been delineated by several hands; one of the best of these, 
according to its size, now extant, in which is included the 
whole continent of North America, is annexed to this work. 
And I have the pleasure to find that an actual survey of the 
intermediate parts of the Mississippi, between the Illinois 
River and the sea, with the Ohio, Cherokee, and Ouabache 
Rivers, taken on the spot by a very ingenious Gentleman,* 
is now published. I flatter mvself that the observations 
therein contained, which have been made by one whose 
knowledge of the parts therein described was acquired by a 
personal investigation, aided by a solid judgment, will con- 
firm the remarks I have made, and promote the plan I am 
here recommending. 

In the map of North America adjoined, I have partitioned 
the country which lies adjacent to the eastern borders of the 
Mississippi into plantations or subordinate colonies ; chusing 
such lands only for this purpose as by being contiguous to 
some river, might enjoy all the advantages I have before 
pointed out. These I have divided by dotted lines, and 
numbered; that future adventurers may readily, by referring 
to the map, chuse a commodious and advantageous situation. 
I shall also here give a concise description of each, begin- 
ning, according to the rule of geographers, with that which 
lies most to the north. 

It is however necessary to observe, that before these set- 
tlements can be established, grants must be procured in the 
manner customary on such occasions, and the lands be pur- 
chased of those who have a right to them by a long posses- 
sion : but no greater difficulty will attend the completion of 
this point, than the original founders of every colony on the 

* Thomas Hutchins, Esq ; Captain in his Majesty's 60th, or Royal America 
Regiment of Foot. 

f 326 ] 

continent met with to obstruct their intentions ; and the num- 
ber of Indians who inhabit these tracts being greatly inade- 
quate to their extent, it is not to be doubted, but they will 
readily give up for a reasonable consideration, territories that 
are of little use to them ; or remove for the accommodation 
of their new neighbours to lands at a greater distance from 
the Mississippi, the navigation of which is not essential to the 
welfare of their communities. 

No. I. The country within these lines, from its situation, 
is colder than any of the others ; yet I am convinced that 
the air is much more temperate than in those provinces that 
lie in the same degree of latitude to the east of it. The soil is 
excellent, and there is a great deal of land that is free from 
woods in the parts adjoining to the Mississippi; whilst on 
the contrary the north-eastern borders of it are well wooded. 
Towards the heads of the River Saint Croix, rice grows in 
great plenty, and there is abundance of copper. Though 
the Falls of Saint Anthony are situated at the south-east 
corner of this division, yet that impediment will not totally 
obstruct the navigation, as the River Saint Croix, which 
runs through a great part of the southern side of it, enters 
the Mississippi just below the Falls, and flows with so gen- 
tle a current that it affords a convenient navigation for boats. 
This tract is about one hundred miles from north-west to 
south-east, and one hundred and twenty miles from north- 
east to south-west. 

No. II. This tract, as I have already described it in my 
Journals, exceeds the highest encomiums I can give it; not- 
withstanding which it is entirely uninhabited, and the profu- 
sion of blessings that nature has showered on this heavenly 
spot return unenjoyed to the lap from whence they sprung. 
Lake Pepin, as I have termed it after the French, lies within 
these bounds; but the lake to which that name properly be- 
longs is a little above in the River St. Croix; however, as 
all the traders call the lower lake by that name, I have so 

[ 327 ] 

denominated it, contrary to the information I received from 
the Indians. This colony lying in unequal angles, the di- 
mensions of it cannot be exactly given, but it appears to be 
on an average about one hundred and ten miles long, and 
eighty broad. 

No. III. The greatest part of this division is situated on 
the River Ouisconsin, -which is navigable for boats about 
one hundred and eighty miles, till it reaches the Carrying- 
place that divides it from the Fox River. The land which 
is contained within its limits, is in some parts mountainous, 
and in others consists of fertile meadows and fine pasturage. 
It is furnished also with a great deal of good timber, and, as 
is generally the case on the banks of the Mississippi and its 
branches, has much fine, open, clear land, proper for cultiva- 
tion. To these are added an inexhaustible fund of riches, 
in a number of lead mines which lie at a little distance from 
the Ouisconsin towards the south, and appear to be uncom- 
monly full of ore. Although the Saukies and Ottagaumies 
inhabit a part of this tract, the whole of the lands under their 
cultivation does not exceed three hundred acres. It is in 
length from east to west about one hundred and fifty miles, 
and about eighty from north to south. 

No. IV. The colony here marked out consists of lands of 
various denominations, some of which are very good, and 
others very bad. The best is situated on the borders of the 
Green Bay and the Fox River, where there are innumerable 
acres covered with fine grass, most part of which grows to 
an astonishing height. This River will afford a good navi- 
gation for boats throughout the whole of its course, which 
is about one hundred and eighty miles, except between the 
Winnebago Lake, and the Green Bay ; where there are sev- 
eral Carrying-places in the space of thirty miles. The Fox 
River is rendered remarkable by the abundance of rice that 
grows on its shores, and the almost infinite numbers of wild 
fowl that frequent its banks. The land which lies near it 

[ 323 ] 

appears to be very fertile, and promises to produce a suffi- 
cient supply of all the necessaries of life for any number of 
inhabitants. A communication might be opened by those 
who shall settle here, either through the Green Bay, Lake 
Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario with 
Canada, or by way of the Ouisconsin into the Mississippi. 
This division is about one hundred and sixty miles long from 
north to south, and one hundred and forty broad. 

No. V. This is an excellent tract of land, and, considering 
its interior situation, has greater advantages than could be 
expected ; for having the Mississippi on its western borders, 
and the Illinois on its south-east, it has as free a navigation 
as most of the others. The northern parts of it are some- 
what mountainous, but it contains a great deal of clear land, 
the soil of which is excellent, with many fine fertile meadows, 
and not a few rich mines. It is upwards of two hundred 
miles from north to south, and one hundred and fifty from 
east to west. 

No. VI. This colony being situated upon the heads of 
the Rivers Illinois and Ouabache, the former of which emp- 
ties itself immediately into the Mississippi, and the latter 
into the same river by means of the Ohio, will readily find 
a communication with the sea through these. Having also 
the River Miamis passing through it, which runs into Lake 
Erie, an intercourse might be established with Canada also 
by way of the lakes, as before pointed out. It contains a 
great deal of rich fertile land, and though more inland than 
any of the others, will be as valuable an acquisition as the 
best of them. From north to south it is about one hundred 
and sixty miles, from east to west one hundred and eighty. 

No. VII. This division is not inferior to any of the fore- 
going. Its northern borders lying adjacent to the Illinois 
river, and its western to the Mississippi, the situation of it 
for establishing a commercial intercourse with foreign nations 
is very commodious. It abounds with all the necessaries of 

[ 329 ] 

life, and is about one hundred and fifty miles from north to 
south, and sixty miles from east to west ; but the confines 
of it being more irregular than the others, I cannot exactly 
ascertain the dimensions of it. 

No. VIII. This colony having the River Ouabache run- 
ning through the centre of it, and the Ohio for its southern 
boundary, will enjoy the advantages of a free navigation. It 
extends about one hundred and forty miles from north to 
south, and one hundred and thirty from east to west. 

No. IX. X. and XL being similar in situation, and fur- 
nished with nearly the same conveniencies as all the others, 
I shall only give their dimensions. No. IX. is about eighty 
miles each way, but not exactly square. No. X. is nearly 
in the same form, and about the same extent. No. XL is 
much larger, being at least one hundred and fifty miles from 
north to south, and one hundred and forty from east to west, 
as nearly as from its irregularity it is possible to calculate. 

After the description of this delightful country I have 
already given, I need not repeat that all the spots I have 
thus pointed out as proper for colonization, abound not only 
with the necessaries of life, being well stored with rice, 
deer, buffalos, bears, &c. but produce in equal abundance 
such as may be termed luxuries, or at least those articles of 
commerce before recited, which the inhabitants of it will 
have an opportunity of exchanging for the needful produc- 
tions of other countries. 

The discovery of a north-west passage to India has been 
the subject of innumerable disquisitions. Many efforts like- 
wise have been made by way of Hudson's Bay to penetrate 
into the Pacific Ocean, though without success. I shall not 
therefore trouble myself to enumerate the advantages that 
would result from this much wished-for discovery, its utility 
being already too well known to the commercial world to 
need any elucidation ; I shall only confine myself to the 


[ 330 ] 

methods that appear most probable to ensure success to 
future adventurers. 

The many attempts that have hitherto been made for this 
purpose, but which have all been rendered abortive, seem 
to have turned the spirit of making useful researches into 
another channel, and this most interesting one has almost 
been given up as impracticable ; but, in my opinion, their 
failure rather proceeds from their being begun at an improper 
place, than from their impracticability. 

All navigators that have hitherto gone in search of this 
passage, have first entered Hudson's Bay ; the consequence 
of which has been, that having spent the season during which 
only those seas are navigable, in exploring many of the nu- 
merous inlets lying therein, and this without discovering any 
opening, terrified at the approach of winter, they have has- 
tened back for fear of being frozen up, and consequently of 
being obliged to continue till the return of summer in those 
bleak and dreary realms. Even such as have perceived the 
coasts to enfold themselves, and who have of course enter- 
tained hopes of succeeding, have been deterred from prose- 
cuting their voyage, lest the winter should set in before they 
could reach a more temperate climate. 

These apprehensions have discouraged the boldest ad- 
venturers from completing the expeditions in which they 
have engaged, and frustrated every attempt. But as it has 
been discovered by such as have sailed into the northern 
parts of the Pacific Ocean, that there are many inlets which 
verge towards Hudson's Bay, it is not to be doubted but that 
a passage might be made out from that quarter, if it be 
sought for at a proper season. And should these expecta- 
tions be disappointed, the explorers would not be in the 
same hazardous situation with those who set out from Hud- 
son's Bay, for they will always be sure of a safe retreat, 
through an open sea, to warmer regions, even after repeated 

t 331 ] 

disappointments. And this confidence will enable them to 
proceed with greater resolution, and probably be the means 
of effecting what too much circumspection or timidity has 

These reasons for altering the plan of enquiry after this 
convenient passage, carry with therh such conviction, that 
in the year 1774 Richard Whitworlh, Esq. member of par- 
liament for Stafford, a gentleman of an extensive knowledge 
in geography, of an active enterprising disposition, and whose 
benevolent mind is ever ready to promote the happiness of 
individuals, or the welfare of the public, from the represent- 
ations made to him of the expediency of it by myself and 
others, intended to travel across the continent of America, 
that he might attempt to carry a scheme of this kind into 

He designed to have pursued nearly the same route that 
I did ; and after having built a fort at Lake Pepin, to have 
proceeded up the River St. Pierre, and from thence up a 
branch of the River Messorie, till having discovered the 
source of the Oregan or River of the West, on the other 
side the summit of the lands that divide the waters which 
run into the Gulph of Mexico from those that fall into the 
Pacific Ocean, he would have sailed down that river to the 
place where it is said to empty itself near the Straights of 

Having there established another settlement on some spot 
that appeared best calculated for the support of his people, 
in the neighbourhood of some of the inlets which tend to- 
wards the north-east, he would from thence have begun his 
researches. This gentleman was to have been attended in 
the expedition by Colonel Rogers, myself, and others, and to 
have taken out with him a sufficient number of artificers and 
mariners for building the forts and vessels necessary on the 
occasion, and for navigating the latter ; in all not less than 

[ 332 ] 

fifty or sixty men. The grants and other requisites for this 
purpose were even nearly complete, when the present troub- 
les in America began, which put a stop to an enterprize that 
promised to be of inconceivable advantage to the British 




There is a disposition peculiar to every mind, that early 
predominates, and continues its influence through every pe- 
riod of life. Many circumstances may, indeed, obscure or 
divert its progress ; but on all interesting occasions this con- 
stitutional bias will recur, and exhibit the natural character 
and genius of the individual. 

Jonathan Carver, the author of the following work, was 
grandson of William Joseph Carver, of Wigan, in Lancash- 
ire, who was a captain in the army under king William, and 
served in Ireland with such distinguished reputation, that 
that prince was pleased to reward him with the government 
of Connecticut in New-England, which appears to have 
been the first appointment to that station by the crown. 

Our author was born, anno 1732, at Stillwater, in the prov- 
ince of Connecticut, since rendered famous by the surrender 
of the army under General Burgoyne ; his father, who resided 
at this place, and acted as a justice of the peace, died, when 
he was only fifteen years of age. He had received the ru- 
diments of as liberal an education as could be procured in 
that neighbourhood, and, being designed for the practice of 
medicine, he was soon after his father's death placed with a 
gentleman of that profession in Elizabeth Town, in the same 

[ 334 ] 

province. A profession that requires *iot only a close and 
regular attention, but likewise a steady perseverance, was 
not suited to that spirit of bold enterprize and adventure, 
which seemed to be the ruling passion of our author, who, 
at the age of eighteen, purchased an ensigncy in the Con- 
necticut regiment, in which, as I have been informed, he 
acquired so much reputation, as to obtain the command of 
a company. Of this event, however, I have not found the 
least mention among his papers, nor, indeed, of any other 
important circumstance of his life till the year 1757, when 
he was in the army under General Webb, and fortunately 
escaped the dreadful massacre at Fort William Henry, where 
nearly 1500 brave troops were destroyed in cold blood by 
the Indians in the French army of General Montcalm. 

In the ensuing year, 1758, a battalion of light infantry, 
commanded by Colonel Oliver Partridge, was raised in the 
province of Massachusetts Bay, by order of Governor Pow- 
nall, for the purpose of invading Canada, in which our au- 
thor served as second lieutenant of Captain Hawks's compa- 
ny ; and in 1760 he was advanced to be captain of a com- 
pany in Colonel Whetcomb's regiment of foot, during the 
administration of Governor Hutchinson. In Governor Bar- 
nard's time, in 1762, Captain Carver commanded a company 
of foot in Colonel Saltonstall's regiment. 

I have not been able to collect any anecdotes of our au- 
thor, during his military services ; but from the written rec- 
ommendations in my hands, of persons high in office, under 
whom he acted, he appears to have acquitted himself with 
great reputation, and much to the satisfaction of his superior 
officers. These recommendations are not confined to mili- 
tary conduct merely ; they uniformly introduce him as a 
person of piety, and of a good moral character. Throughout 
the narrative of his travels, indeed, an animated regard to 
the duties of religion is evidently prevalent, which must pro- 
cure a credibility to the facts he mentions, that might other- 

[ 335 ] 

wise be suspended. If authors, who have visited countries 
unknown to their contemporaries, had always been actuated 
by a sacred regard to truth and moral rectitude, history in 
general would have been developed with just and convincing 
relations, and not left involved in doubt and obscurity. 

This firm integrity and undaunted courage appeared evi- 
dent upon every interesting occasion : they were, indeed, es- 
sentially requisite to conduct him through the most danger- 
ous enterprizes with a perseverance that is more generally 
the offspring of true fortitude, than of daring boldness or im- 
petuosity of imagination. 

With so many favourable requisites for success and ad- 
vancement, descended from parents respectable for their 
military and civil dignity, as well as for their fortune ; en- 
dued with courage, sagacity, and a spirit of enterprize, rarely 
united in one individual, it might be an object of enquiry, 
why Captain Carver, whose conduct was so excellent, in a 
moral as well as in a military view, should never have been 
promoted above the command of a company. 

It is a truth confirmed by history, that true fortitude is the 
genuine offspring of an humble mind. Whatever we acquire 
by industry and labour, we are apt highly to estimate; it is 
a kind of new creation of our own ; and a persuasion of this, 
inspires ambition, and even a forward ardour for distinction ; 
and what a partial imagination magnifies to ourselves, we 
naturally magnify to others, and gradually acquire a conse- 
quence, and reap rewards adequate, if not superior, to des- 
ert : but the naturally brave is naturally modest ; what is 
innate, does not present itself to the imagination as its own ; 
it neither begets vanity, nor excites ambition ; and thus gre&t 
endowments, which might have been cherished, and turned 
to the most important advantages, are frequently neglected, 
and lost to society. Whatever natural or acquired excellen- 
cies were possessed by Captain Carver, not only seemed 
unnoticed by himself, but were accompanied by a diffidence, 

[ 336 ] 

which in some instances was extraordinary indeed ; and the 
reader must be convinced of this, when he is informed, that 
Captain Carver died, through want, with three commissions 
in his pocket. 

The year after his commission under Colonel Saltonstall 
was signed, the peace of Versailles took place, namely, anno 
1763, when our author, having discharged his military obli- 
gations to his country, retired from the army. But his natu- 
ral turn for enterprize, and the pursuit of novelty, did not 
suffer him to enjoy a life of useless ease ; he began to con- 
sider, to use his own sentiments (having rendered his country 
some service during the war) how he might continue still 
serviceable, and contribute, as much as lay in his power, to 
make that vast acquisition of territory, gained by Great Brit- 
ain in North America, advantageous to it; and here he com- 
mences his own biographer, continuing his relation in the 
following history of his travels, till his visit to England in 
the year 1769. 

Though I have not been able to procure many additional 
anecdotes of this ingenious traveller, yet a respect to his 
memory, and a sense of his services to the nation at large, 
excited a desire to bring together a few outlines of his char- 
acter, and probably at some future period, when the present 
unhappy contest between this kingdom and the American 
colonies shall have subsided, particulars of more importance 
than I have been able to meet with, may be procured from 
that part of the world, which he has. taken so much useful 
labour to describe. 

This barrenness of materials is, however, in some degree 
compensated by the important relations he has communicated 
in the succeeding pages, which not only regard himself, but 
likewise a part of the great American continent, hitherto al- 
most unknown to the inhabitants of Europe, and even to 
those of the cultivated parts of the same continent. 

In his descriptions of these vast regions, he seem'tf to have 

[ 337 ] 

embraced every opportunity of pointing out the advantages 
which might be derived in a commercial view, from a just 
knowledge of them, and of the policy of the various tribes 
who possess them. In his picturesque view of the scenery 
round Lake Pepin, his imagination, animated as it was by 
the magnitude, the novelty, and grandeur of the objects, is 
not so far transported, as to interrupt the most scrupulous 
attention to the situation, as improveable for commercial and 
national advantages. 

In the midst of a new and rich creation, he suggested the 
probability of rendering this lake, and its variegated environs, 
the center of immense traffick, with a people whose names 
and tribes were scarcely known to the commercial parts of 
either side of the British empire, but whose dispositions and 
pursuits seemed calculated to promote and secure this inter- 
esting and national benefit. 

The lake, which is about twenty miles in length, and six 
in breadth, and through which the Mississippi directs its 
course, is about two thousand miles from the entrance into 
the gulf of Mexico, and as many westerly from Quebec, 
Boston, and New-York; it is situated between 42 and 43 
degrees of north latitude. The plains in its vicinity are ex- 
tensive and fit for immediate cultivation : elk, deer, and other 
quadrupeds, including the beaver, otter, mink, martin, sable, 
musk-rat, and the largest buffaloes in America, are the in- 
habitants of this region, whilst various species of wild fowl 
frequent the lake, whose waters are stored with fish in great 
abundance ; vegetation is luxuriant in the meadows, where 
the maple is indigenous, of whose sap the Indians make 
great quantities of sugar, capable of fermentation, and of 
producing spirit ; the grapes hang in such clusters, that al- 
most any quantity of brandy might, under a like process, be 
distilled from them ; rice, a grain adapted to many useful 
purposes of life, is also very plentiful. 

The number of hunting Indians, who frequent Lake Pepin, 


[ 338 ] 

Is not less than 2000, each of whom brings about one hun- 
dred pounds weight of beaver to barter, which, at the lowest 
price, in the London market, is five shillings a pound ; hence 
a trade at this place will command annually 200000 crowns 
worth of furs, besides skins. But there is reason to conclude, 
that when a general mart is established here, furnished with 
a sufficient assortment of goods, and a supply of liquors, that 
there would be a more general resort of traders. 

The French, indeed, supported a trade at this lake, before 
the English had made a conqulst of the country ; but they 
never attempted the lucrative branch of distilling spirituous 
liquors upon the spot, though they have been conveyed hither 
two thousand miles of difficult carriage, and produced con- 
siderable profit. 

It may be doubted in a moral, if not in a political view, 
whether such a traffic of rendering the means of inebriation 
more easily attainable, should meet with the encouragement 
of the legislature. Captain Carver, however, computed that 
2000 gallons of brandy could be made on the spot, as cheap 
as in the West Indies ; and that by avoiding the expence of 
3000 miles carriage also, the traders would make a saving 
of 2000 per cent, besides duties and various contingencies : 
and as, by a moderate computation, every gallon of spirits 
will produce there what will amount to ten pounds in the 
London market, it must eventually prove a most lucrative 
branch of trade, if pursued with proper caution and policy. 

The great plenty of the edible necessaries of life, will af- 
ford a cheap, easy, and salutary supply ; and the goodness 
of the soil, with very little labour, will render provisions still 
more easily attainable, and altogether form a place of traffic 
hitherto unequalled. 

From Captain Carver's long residence in the neighbour- 
hood of Lake Pepin, among the Naudowissie and Chipeway 
Indians, he acquired a knowledge of their languages, and an 
intimacy with many of their chiefs, which, with his spirited 

[ 339 ] 

and judicious conduct in acting as a mediator between these 
two nations, conciliated their attachment and friendship ; and 
as an acknowledgment of their grateful sense of his happy 
interference, the Naudowissies gave him a formal grant of a 
tract of land, lying on the north side of Lake Pepin. The 
original, duly subscribed by two chiefs, is in my possession ; 
and as an Indian deed of conveyance may prove a curiosity 
to many readers, I shall here insert a copy of it. 

" To Jonathan Carver, a chief under the most mighty and 
"potent George the Third, King of the English and other 
"nations, the fame of whose courageous warriors have 
| reached our ears, and has been more fully told us by our 
"good brother Jonathan aforesaid, whom we rejoice to see 
" come among us, and bring us good news from his country. 
" We, chiefs of the Naudowissies, who have hereto set our 
" seals, do by these presents for ourselves and heirs for ever, 
" in return for the many presents, and other good services 
"done by the said Jonathan to ourselves and allies, give, 
" grant, and convey to him the said Jonathan, and to his heirs 
" and assigns for ever, the whole of a certain tract or territory 
" of land, bounded as follows : (viz.) from the fall of St. An- 
thony, running on the east banks of the Mississippi, nearly 
" south east, as far as the south end of Lake Pepin, where 
"the Chipeway river joins the Mississippi, and from thence 
" eastward five days travel, accounting twenty English miles 
" per day, and from thence north six days travel, at twenty 
" English miles per day, and from thence again to the fall of 
" St. Anthony, on a direct straight line. We do for ourselves, 
" heirs, and assigns, for ever, give unto the said Jonathan, 
"his heirs and assigns, for ever, all the said lands, with all 
" the trees, rocks, and rivers therein, reserving for ourselves 
" and heirs the sole liberty of hunting and fishing on land 
" not planted or improved by the said Jonathan, his heirs and 
" assigns, to which we have affixed our respective seals, at 

[ 340 ] 

" the great cave, May the first, one thousand seven hundred 
"and sixty-seven." 



his mark 

his mark 

Soon after the above period, our author concluded to return 
to Boston, where he arrived in 1768, having been absent two 
years and five months, during which time he had travelled 
about seven thousand miles. After digesting his journal and 
charts, he sailed for England, and arrived there in the year 
1769. The reasons which induced him to undertake this 
voyage, are amply related by himself in his travels (page 
122 J to which I refer. 

Few objects have excited a more general enquiry than the 
discovery of a north-west passage, in order to open a com- 
munication with the great pacific ocean and the East Indies, 
by a shorter navigation than by doubling those immense 
promontories, the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn. 
Every allurement of gain, and national emolument, has been 
proposed to encourage the attempt, but, hitherto, every at- 
tempt hath been fruitless, though the most experienced sea- 
men have engaged in the undertaking. Our traveller sug- 
gested an attempt by land, across the north-west parts of 
North America, and actually drew a chart of his proposed 
rout for effecting his project, which, however visionary it 
may now be deemed, affords at least a proof of the enterpri- 

t 341 ] 

xing spirit of Captain Carver, and which he would, probably, 
have attempted, had any encouragement been afforded him: 
(introd. pag. 27. and append, pag. 329, et seq.) 

When he visited England, he appeared with the most fa- 
vourable credentials of his character in every respect : many 
of these are now in my possession ; but that which seemed 
to promise the most beneficial advantages, was conferred 
upon him by General Gage, and, in consequence of a peti- 
tion presented to the king, and referred to the Lords Com- 
missioners of Trade and Plantations, our traveller had formed 
the fond hope of seeing his labours so far rewarded, as to 
be reimbursed those sums he had expended in the service 
of government, agreeable to the relation conveyed in the 
introduction to his travels. 

In a large, free, and widely extended government, where 
every motion depends upon a variety of springs, the lesser 
and subordinate movements must be acted upon by the great- 
er, and consequently the more inferior operations of state 
will be so distant, as not to be perceived in the grand ma- 
chine : whether Captain Carver's disappointments resulled 
from these principles, or that government did not estimate 
his services in equal proportion to his own idea of them, is 
not so easily ascertained, as that he thought himself not only 
neglected, but treated with injustice. 

The condition of a suppliant is what his mind must have 
submitted to with reluctance. Men of superior endowments 
are liable to be jealous of the least inattention, which they 
are apt to consider as an insult on their distress. A feeling 
mind, like his, conscious of its dignity and superior merit, 
might not be able to stoop to that importunity and adulation, 
which are sometimes requisite to insure the smiles and fa- 
vours of those in power; otherwise it might naturally be 
suggested, that his extensive acquaintance with America, 
andwiih the customs and languages of the Indians, in the 
interior parts of that vast continent, then the theatre of an 

[ 342 ] 

unnatural and bloody contest, would have pointed him out as 
a most useful instrument in the hands of government. 

With the advantages, however, of an intimate knowledge 
of Indian affairs, he united a determined loyally to the king, 
and a fixed attachment to his American countrymen ; and 
thus the principle of acting agreeably to the feelings of con- 
science, would equally operate upon him respecting the con- 
tending parlies. He had repeatedly risked his life in the 
service of his prince, against whose government he was 
equally averse from drawing his sword, as against his trans- 
atlantic brethren : he might not, therefore, be deemed an 
important acquisition to the ruling powers here, and the 
prayer of his petition was scarcely heard in the clamours of 
popular commotion. 

Persons of ingenuity, however oppressed by their own 
sufferings, in a busy commercial country, may strike out 
some means of subsistence ; but, in a domestic state, where 
many depend upon the industry of an individual, the diffi- 
culty of procuring support is not only rendered more affect- 
ing to the feeling mind, but likewise greatly augmented. 
Captain Carver, after having exhausted his fortune, had now 
a family to support, without knowing how to turn his abili- 
ties to any means of succouring them. Distress of mind 
begets debility of body, which is still aggravated by penury, 
and a want of the common necessaries of life. His consti- 
tution, naturally firm, gradually grew weaker and weaker; 
but his regard to his family animated his spirit to exertions 
beyond the strength of his body, which enabled him to pre- 
serve existence through the winter of 1779, by acting as a 
clerk in a lottery-office ; but the vital powers, succoured as 
they were by this casual support, diminished by certain, 
though imperceptible, degrees, till at length a putrid fever 
supervening a long continued dysentery brought on by want, 
put an end to the life of a man, who, after rendering, at the 
expence of fortune and health, and the risk of life, many im- 

[ 343 ] 

portant services to his country, perished through want in the 
first city of the world. 

In size, Captain Carver was rather above the middle stat- 
ure, and of a firm muscular texture ; his features expressed 
a firmness of mind and boldness of resolution ; and he re- 
tained a florid complexion to his latest moments. 

In conversation he was social and affable, where he was 
familiar; but his extreme diffidence and modesty kept him 
in general reserved in company. In his familiar epistles, he 
commanded an easy and agreeable manner of writing ; and 
some pieces of his poetry, which have been communicated to 
me, afford proofs of his lively imagination and of the har- 
mony of his versification. 

His only authentic publications I have seen are the present 
work, and a Treatise on the Culture of the Tobacco Plant, 
anno 1779. The former will speak for itself: the opinion 
of the public has, indeed, been fully testified by the rapid 
sale of two large editions of this work in the space of the 
last two years. 

The Treatise on Tobacco is a small octavo of fifty- four 
pages, containing two engravings of the plant, and an account 
of its cultivation on the American continent. As this veg- 
etable constitutes one of the most considerable branches of 
commerce betwixt the old and new hemispheres of the world, 
and thrives luxuriously in Europe as well as in America, it 
is now pretty generally known : from the elegance of ihe 
plant and beauty of its flowers, it is cultivated in gardens for 
ornament; in which character it will appear from a view of 
the annexed engraving of it. 

It was first sent into Spain, in 1560: from Tabaco, a 
province of Yucatan, by Hermandez de Toledo, and from 
the place of its growth it received the name which it still 

It was called by the French, Nicotiana, after John Nicot, 
who went soon after it was discovered, as ambassador to that 

[ 344 ] 

court, from Francis the Second of Portugal, and carried some 
of it with him. 

Before the present contest between Great Britain and the 
Colonies, about 96,000 hogsheads were annually imported 
from Maryland and Virginia, which, with the duties on the 
home consumption, and the returns on foreign export, pro- 
duced an immense revenue to this country. 

The general uses of Tobacco, are well known; besides 
which, it is found nearly equal to the best oak-bark for tan- 
ning leather, especially with thinner sorts of hides ; and 
would probably be used for this purpose, were it as cheap as 
the bark of the oak. 

Few subjects have been more copiously treated on than 
Tobacco : Monardes, Stephanus, Everhartus, Thorius, Ne- 
ander, Pauli, have each wrote upon it largely. Neander 
published a volume on this subject, entitled, Tobacologia, 
and ornamented it with plates, to exhibit its cultivation and 
manner of preparation ; and, lately, Captain Carver pub- 
lished the above-mentioned Treatise on the Culture of this 
Plant, with a view to instruct landholders in the method of 
cultivating it with profit, and to this pamphlet I shall refer 
the reader for further particulars. 

Our author died on the 31st of January 1780, at the age 
of forty-eight years, and lies interred in Holywell-Mount 


An impression has obtained with many that the Indian 
Grant to Carver was deemed rather a matter of curiosity 
than of real value, because no settlement was at the time 
made upon the Territory. No conclusion can be more erro- 
neous. Our author himself tells us, that he suffered all the 
pangs of hope deferred from the inaction of the government, 
but the relation in which he stood towards it precluded in 
dividual exertion, and induced him to refrain from complaint; 
and from various authentic sources we gather many partic- 
ulars, which prove that the proprietors of this land have al- 
ways asserted their rights, and made several attempts to es- 
tablish colonies, and not entirely without success, some set- 
tlements having already been formed on the Mississippi and 
Chippeway Rivers, notwithstanding those obstacles which 
now, happily, are nearly overcome. The Rev. Dr. Peters, 
in a letter to a friend in Baltimore, written many years ago, 
says — " Captain Jonathan Carver arrived in London (say) 
" 1770. In 1774 I arrived there and met Capt. Carver. In 
" 1775, Feb., Carver had a hearing before the king (George 
" 3d), Whitehall, on his petition praying his Majesty's ap- 
proval of a deed of land dated May 1st, 1767, sold and 
" granted to him by the Naudowissie chiefs. 

" The king in council heard and read the original deed to 
" Carver. The result was, in Council, his Majesty, to approve 
" of the exertions and bravery of Capt. Carver among the 
"Indian nations near the Falls of St. Anthony in the Mis- 
sissippi, gave to said Carver £1373 13s. Sd. sterling, and 
" ordered a frigate to be prepared, and a transport ship to 
" carry 150 men, under command of Capt. Carver and four 


[ 346 ] 

" other wen as a committee, to sail next June to New Orleans 
" witli boats and necessaries, and then to ascend the Missis- 
" sippi to take possession of said Territory conveyed to Cap- 
" tain Carver. His Majesty requested Capt. Carver to pub- 
" lish his Journal, and to send a copy of it to him for his Mnjes- 
" ty's library. By June all things were nearly ready ; but in 
" May the news arrived from Boston of the battle of Bunker'' s 
" Hill. This news was a fatal damper on the hopes of Capt. 
" Carver, and he was told to wait in London until peace 
" should be restored in the colonies. Captain Carver con- 
tinued in England, hoping for peace between England and 
"her colonies, until January 31, 1780, when he died by a 
" fever. The war and troubles in America continued, even 
" after the peace in 1783 was made between England and the 
" United States. The Indians, discontented with the new 
" lines, rendered it dangerous for white people to settle in 
"the Northwestern Territory; and, besides, Capt. Carver's 
" widow and two sons and five daughters were left poor and 
" unable to stir about the land ; and had no copy of the orr- 
"ginal deed given to Carver on May 1st, 1767, until I sent 
" an attested copy of it, under the seal of the Lord Mayor of 
" London, and brought another attested copy with me in 
" 1805, which I lodged in the archives of Congress in 1806." 
While such was the condition of things on ihis side the 
Atlantic, in England, in consequence of the death of Capt. 
Carver, and the severance of the American colonies from 
and recognition of their independence by the mother country, 
the intention of the British government to establish a colony 
high up the Mississippi on the Carver grant was abandoned ; 
the scheme was then for a while continued to be entertained 
by an association of merchants of London ; but objects of 
more pressing urgency, presented by the hostile attitude of 
some of the European powers, diverted their attention from 
its prosecution ; and the original Indian grant to Carver, 
with all the advantages that might result from it, continued 
to be the property of his family ; but, from the adverse cir- 

[ 347 ] 

cumstances of the times, and their own condition, it seemed 
to be of little value except as a memorial of the enterprise 
of their parent, and of the gratitude of a high-souled although 
savage race. 

But while the purpose of the British government had thus 
undergone a change, and the intended enterprise of associa- 
ted merchants been frustrated, there were individuals who 
still kept the establishment of a colony on the Carver grant 
steadily in view. 

Martha, a daughter of Capt. Carver, and in England, it 
would seem, considered to be his only child and heir, had 
been received into the family and lived under the protection 
of Sir Richard and Lady Pearson ; but was induced, as we 
learn from such scanty memorials as remain, to leave the 
shelter of this respectable home, and marry an individual of 
low condition, a dependant on the mercantile house of Conly 
& Co., which directly afterward purchased from the newly- 
married pair a conveyance of the grant in question, and sub- 
sequently despatched one Clark as their agent, with goods 
and money, to take possession and form a settlement. Thus 
supplied, and intrusted with the original deed in order to ac- 
credit him with the Sioux, or, as called in the text, the Nau 
dowissies, Clark proceeded on his mission ; but, after having 
prosecuted his journey successfully till he had penetrated 
the wilderness almost to Niagara, the rich booty which he 
offered to the reckless tenants of the forest of that day caused 
him to be waylaid, robbed, and murdered ; the perpetrator 
of this offence afterward expiated his crime at Albany ; but 
it is not understood that any of the property or papers taken 
from the murdered man were ever recovered ; and Messrs. 
Conly & Co., having lost about £3000 sterling by the enter- 
prise, abandoned it as hopeless. 

In the mean time the heirs of Carver residing in Vermont 
and Massachusetts, aware of the value of their inheritance, 
but unable or indisposed to take any active part in devel- 
oping its advantages, conveyed all their interest in it to Ed- 

[ 348 ] 

ward Houghton, 9lh May, 1794, on whose behalf, although, 
as would seem, in their name, an application to Congress was 
subsequently made, the propriety and utility of which it is not 
necessary here to discuss, or the reasons which rendered it in- 
effective. Edward Houghton and Ruth his wife, on the 20th 
February, 1822, conveyed all their interest in the premises to 
James L. Bell and Charles Graham, Esqrs., of the city of 
New-York, and George Blake, Esq., of the city of Boston, in 
trust for the use and benefit of the associated stockholders of 
the Mississippi Land Company, who, it is believed, now hold 
all, or very nearly all, the outstanding claims to any part of this 
grant which bear any show of validity ; and considering the 
time to have arrived when public and private interest demand 
that the ample resources of this fertile and well-situated 
tract of land should be hastened into full development, the 
proprietors are about to call for such action of Congress in 
the matter as may be requisite, as well as to establish their 
title by legal decisions, and commence immediately surveys 
which will enable them to offer to the selection of emigrants 
such choice of soil and locality as may suit the business, 
convenience, and habits of all. 

The subjoined documents exhibit the direct chain of title 
of the Mississippi Land Company, omitting various collateral 
deeds derived from persons who had, under circumstances 
not necessary to particularize, acquired from some of the 
heirs of Carver partial and limited interests, which the com- 
pany have, with great liberality, held to be entitled to equi- 
table consideration, and purchased at a large expense. 

To Jonathan Carver, 

A chief under the most mighty and potent George the 
Third, King of the English and other nations, the fame of 
whose courageous warriors have reached our ears, and has 
been more fully told to us by our good brother Jonathan afore- 
said, whom we rejoice to see come among us, and bring us 
good news from his country. 

[ 349 ] 

We, chiefs of the Naudowissies, who have hereto set our 
seals, do by these presents, for ourselves and heirs for ever, 
in return for the many presents and other good services done 
by the said Jonathan to ourselves and allies, give, grant, and 
convey to him the said Jonathan, and to his heirs and assigns 
for ever, the whole of a certain tract or territory of land, 
bounded as follows, viz. From the Fall of St. Anthony, run- 
ning on the east bank of the Mississippi nearly southeast, 
as far as the south end of Lake Pepin, where the Chipeway 
River joins the Mississippi, and from thence eastward five 
days travel, accounting twenty English miles per day, and 
from thence north six days travel, at twenty English miles 
per day, and from thence again to the Fall of St. Anthony, 
on a direct straight line. We do for ourselves, heirs, and as- 
signs for ever, give unto the said Jonathan, his heirs and as- 
signs for ever, all the said lands, with all the trees, rocks, and 
rivers therein ; reserving for ourselves and heirs ihe sole lib- 
erty of hunting and fishing on land not planted and improved 
by the said Jonathan, his heirs and assigns. To which we 
have affixed our respective seals, at the Great Cave, May the 
first, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-seven. 



his mark. 

his mark. 

The foregoing, with the signets from two Indian chiefs of 

[ 350 J 

the Naudowissie tribes near the Fall of St. Anthony, on the 
River Mississippi, to Capt. Jonathan Carver, dated at the 
Great Cave on May first, one thousand seven hundred and 
sixty-seven, is a true copy of an original deed, compared ac- 
cording to the testimonies of the Rev. Dr. Samuel Peters and 
Dr. John Coakley Lettsom, M.D., as stated in a petition to 
Congress by Samuel Harrison, on behalf of the heirs of 
Capt. Jonathan Carver, praying for a recognition of the same 
as on file in the Senate Office of the Secretary of the Senate 
of the United States. Examined this 23d day of April, one 
thousand eight hundred and six, at the capitol in the city of 

Attest, SAMUEL A. OTIS, Secretary of the Sen- 
ate of the United States. 

Signed in presence of Samuel Eliot, Junr. 

The above is certified under the seal of the Secretary of 
State for James Madison. 

To all to whom these presents shall come. 

We, the chiefs and warriors of the Naudowissies tribes of 
Indians, do, by our signatures to this writing or instrument, 
witness and acknowledge, that a deed or grant of land was 
made by our fathers to Captain Jonathan Carver for a tract 
of land situate at the Falls of St. Anthony, on the Mississippi 
River, and that we have a traditional record thereof comply- 
ing with the within deed. We are willing, and desire that 
the title to the said lands should be vested in the associates 
of the Mississippi Land Company of New-York, and pray 
our fathers at Washington to grant our said request. 

In witness whereof, we have hereunto affixed our hands 
and marks, at Lac Traver, the seventeenth day of February, 
A.D. 1821. 
In presence of Witnesses, his 

John Palmer Bourke. OUCKIEN-X/^TANGAH, 

M. M'Kinzie. mark. 

[ 351 ] 

Federic R. Dickson. TACHACHPI X TAINCHE. 


William Laidlaw. his 

Peter Powell. mark. 

Joseph Jeffryes. CHATEAU X & HOUMANS, I c^beau, 

mark. ) 

District of New- York, City and County of New-York. 

On this thirteenth day of August, in the year of our Lord 
one thousand eight hundred and twenty-four, before me, 
William P. Van Ness, District Judge of the United States 
for the Southern District of New-York, personally came and 
appeared Chateau Houmans, otherwise called Petit Cor- 
beau, proved to my satisfaction, by the oath of William Dick- 
son, Indian interpreter, to be the person of that name who 
hath put his mark as one of the parties subscribers to the 
above instrument. The said William Dickson having de- 
posed before me that he was well acquainted with the said 
Chateau Houmans, having known him for many years ; and 
the said William Dickson further deposed before me that he 
was well acquainted with the language of the said Chateau 
Houmans, being attached to the deputation of his nation as 
their interpreter; and the said William Dickson, having also 
been by me duly sworn, well, truly, and faithfully to interpret 
the questions which I should propose to ihe said Chateau 
Houmans, and the answers which he should make thereto, 
I thereupon showed the above instrument tathe said Chateau 
Houmans, and in answer to questions proposed by me to 
him through the said interpreter, he acknowledged that he 
had signed (by putting his mark thereto) and executed the 
above instrument freely and voluntarily, without restraint 
or compulsion of any kind. That he was acquainted with 
its contents from having heard it read when signed by him, 

[ 352 ] 

and now again by the above-named interpreter ; and the said 
Chateau Houmans further declared before me, that the said 
above instrument was also signed, freely and voluntarily, in 
his presence, by the other persons whose marks and names 
appear thereto subscribed, at or about the time and at the 
place in the said instrument mentioned. 

W. P. Van Ness. 

District of New-York, City and County of New- York, ss. 
On this seventh day of December, 1837, before me, Sam- 
uel R. Betts, District Judge of the United States for the 
Southern District of New-York, personally came and ap- 
peared Kenneth M'Kenzie and Ramsay Crooks, and there- 
upon being by me duly sworn according to law, they did 
severally depose and say as follows, viz. the said Kenneth 
M'Kenzie for himself did depose and say that he resides at 
St. Louis, in the state of Missouri ; that in his presence and 
in presence of John Palmer Bourke, William Laidlaw, Peter 
Powell, and Joseph JerTryes, the chiefs and warriors of the 
Sioux tribes of Indians heretofore called the Boines or Nau- 
dowissies, whose names and marks are set to the aforegoing 
instrument, that is to say, Ouckien Tangah, Tachachpi 
Tainche, Kache Nobine, and Chateau Houmans, or Petit 
Corbeau, all and each of them respectively known to the de- 
ponent, the said Kenneth M'Kenzie, to be the same individ- 
uals described in and who executed the said instrument, and 
to be then actually and truly the chiefs and warriors of the 
said tribes, invested by their nation with all the powers usu- 
ally granted to their chiefs to represent and act for them, 
did, at Lac Traver, on or about the day of the date thereof, 
severally sign the said instrument by setting their respective 
marks thereto, and did thereupon acknowledge the same to 
be the act and deed of each of them ; that previous to their 
so signing and acknowledging the same, the said instrument 
was, in presence of the said Kenneth M'Kenzie and the said 

[ 353 ] 

other witnesses truly and faithfully interpreted to them, the 
said chiefs and warriors, who signed and acknowledged the 
same in their own Indian language, with which language 
the deponent is acquainted sufficiently to understand the 
same, having been for several years in the habit of mingling 
with the said tribes ; and the said instrument, and its meaning 
and bearing, was then and there, in every respect, explained 
to said chiefs and warriors above-named and each of them ; 
that on their so signing and acknowledging the same, the 
said Kenneth M'Kenzie and the said others of said witnesses 
did duly sign their names as witnesses to said instrument. 
That the said chiefs and warriors all signed and acknowl- 
edged the same as aforesaid, freely and without any fear, re- 
straint, compulsion, or undue influence whatever ; and the 
said Ramsay Crooks for himself did depose and say that the 
said Kenneth M'Kenzie is known to him to be the same indi- 
vidual who is the subscribing witness to the said instrument, 
and that he, the deponent, resides in the city of New-York. 

Samuel R. Betts, 

Judge U. States, &c. 
On the behalf of the Sioux tribes represented by me, I 
consent and request by this writing that the title to the tract 
of land granted to Captain Jonathan Carver mentioned in the 
annexed deed, be confirmed to the associates of the Missis- 
sippi Land Company of New-York. In testimony whereof 
I have hereunto set my mark, at the city of New-York, this 
thirteenth day of August, in the year one thousand eight 
hundred and twenty-four. 

Witnesssed, his ) <^ 

Abel T. Anderson. EESH-TAH X HUM-BAH, } or ^ lee Py 

mark. ; J 

Southern District of New- York, ) 
City and County of New-York, ) 

On this thirteenth day of August, one thousand eight hun- 
dred and twenty-four, before me, William P. Van Ness, Dis- 


[ 354 ] 

trict Judge of the U. S. for the Southern District of New- 
York, at the city of New-York, personally came and appeared 
Eesh-tah Hum-bah, otherwise called Sleepy Eye, a chief of 
the Sioux nation, proved to my satisfaction by the oath of 
William Dickson, Indian interpreter, to be the person of that 
name who hath put his mark to the within instrument as 
the person executing the same ; the said William Dickson 
having deposed on oath before me that he was well ac- 
quainted with the said Eesh-tah Hum-bah, or Sleepy Eye 7 
having known him for several years, and also that he the 
said William Dickson was well acquainted with the language 
of the said Eesh-tah Hum-bah, being now attached to the 
deputation as one of their interpreters ; and the said William 
Dickson having also been by me duly sworn, well, truly, and 
faithfully to interpret the said within instrument, and such 
questions as I should put to the said Indian and the answers 
which he should make thereto, I thereupon showed the 
within instrument to the said Eesh-tah Hum-bah, and the 
same was interpreted to him in my presence by the said 
William Dickson, and he thereupon signed the same by put- 
ting his mark thereto in my presence ; and in answer to 
questions put by me to him through the said William Dick- 
son as interpreter as aforesaid, he acknowledged that he 
signed and executed the said within instrument freely and 
voluntarily, without restraint or compulsion of any kind ; and 
I further certify that at the time of the signing and acknowl- 
edgment aforesaid, the deed or instrument therein referred 
to and hereunto annexed was also produced to the said Eesh- 
tah Hum-bah, and was interpreted to him by the said Wil- 
liam Dickson, all which is to me satisfactory evidence of 
the due execution of the said within instrument, and it is- 
allowed to be recorded. 

W. P. Van Ness. 

Know all men by these presents, That we, Jonathan 

f 355 ] 

Carver, of Hendsdale, in the county of Windham, and state 
of Vermont, cordwainer, Rufus Carver, of Deerfield, cord- 
wainer, Elisha Gunn, of Montague, yeoman, and Mindwell 
Gunn, his wife, Sarah Church, of Montague, widow of Sam- 
uel Church, all in the county of Hampshire, and common- 
wealth of Massachusetts ; Simeon King, of Brandon, yeoman, 
and Mary King, his wife, and Joshua Goss, of Brandon, 
yeoman, and Abigail Goss, his wife, all in the county of 
Rutland, and state of Vermont, for and in consideration of 
the sum of fifty thousand pounds, lawful money, to us in 
hand, before the ensealing and delivery hereof, well and 
truly paid by Edward Houghton, of Guilford, in the county 
of Windham and state of Vermont, merchant, the receipt 
whereof we do hereby acknowledge : have demised, re- 
leased, and for ever quitted claim, and by these presents do 
remise, release, and for ever quit claim unto him the said Ed- 
ward Houghton, his heirs and assigns for ever, all our right, 
title, interest, claim, and demand whatsoever, which we have, 
or either of us have, of, in, or unto a certain tract or territory 
of land, situate, lying and being on the north side of Lake 
Pepin, being the same tract of land which was formerly 
granted to Jonathan Carver, late of London, deceased, 
by the Naudowissie tribe of Indians, under the hands of 
their chiefs, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven 
hundred and sixty-seven, and is butted and bounded as fol- 
lows, (viz.) from the Fall of St. Anthony, running on the 
east banks of the Mississippi nearly south-east, as far as the 
south end of Lake Pepin, where the Chipeway River joins 
the Mississippi, and from thence eastward five days travel, 
accounting twenty English miles per day, and from thence 
north six days travel, at twenty English miles per day, and 
from thence again to the Falls of St. Anthony, on a direct 
straight line. To have and to hold the above demised, 
released, and quit-claimed premises, with all the privileges 
and appurtenances to the same belonging, to him the said 

[ 356 *] 

Edward Houghton, his heirs and assigns for ever : and fur- 
thermore, we, the said Jonathan Carver, Rufus Carver, Eli- 
sha Gunn, Mindwell Gunn, Sarah Church, Simeon King, 
Mary King, Joshua Goss and Abigail Goss, do covenant 
and agree to and with the said Edward Houghton, his heirs 
and assigns, to warrant and defend the before mentioned 
premises, against the lawful claims and demands of any 
person or persons whatsoever, claiming by, from, or under 
us or either of us, our heirs, or either of our heirs, by virtue 
of any act or acts of us or any of us already done or suffered. 
In witness whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and 
seals, this ninth day of May, in the year of our Lord one 
thousand seven hundred and ninety-four. 

Signed, sealed, and delivered, > 
in presence of > 

Richard Whitney, 

Jno. Bridgman, jun. 

Richard Whitney, 
Jno. Bridgman, jun. 

Samuel Shepardson, 
Ebnr. Child, 

Hiram Horton, 
Samuel Shepardson, 

Elisha Root, 
Jonathan Church, 

Miriam Billings, 
Roswell Billings, 






RUFUS CARVER, (seal.) 

State of Vermont, > May y e 9, 1794. Personally appeared 
Windham County, > Jonathan Carver and Sarah Church, 
subscribers to the within written instrument, and acknowl- 
edged the same to be their free act and deed, before me, 
JOHN BRIDGMAN, Justice Peace. 

[ 357 ] 

State of Vermont, Brandon, Rutland County, 2d June, 
1794. Personally appeared Joshua Goss, Abigail Goss, 
Simeon King and Mary King, and acknowledged the within 
written instrument by them signed and sealed, to be their 
free act and deed, before me, 

HIRAM HORTON, Jus. Peace. 

Hampshire, ss. June \ Personally appeared Elisha Gunn 
1 1, A.D. 1794. S and Mindwell Gunn, signers to the 
within instrument, and acknowledged the same to be their 
free act and deed, before me, 

ELISHA ROOT, Justice of the Peace. 

Hampshire, ss. June \2th, 1794. Then personally ap- 
peared Rufus Carver, signer and sealer to the within written 
instrument, and acknowledged the same to be his free act 
and deed, before me, 

BENJAMIN SMITH, Justice of the Peace. 

Sunderland, 23d April, A.D. 1798. I do hereby certify 
that this is a true copy of the original deed, in every respect. 
Attest, GILBERT BRADLEY, Justice Peace. 


Bennington County, ss.FebWy \2th, A. D. 1822. Then 
personally appearing Gilbert Bradley, Esq. of Sunderland, 

[ 35$ ] 

in the county aforesaid, of lawful age, and being duly sworn 
according to law, testifies and declares, that on the 23d day 
of April, A-D. 1798, he examined an original deed, which 
appeared to be well authenticated and executed, by the heirs 
of Jonathan Carver, of London, deceased, to Edward Hough- 
ton, of Guilford, in the county of Windham, and state afore- 
said, and after comparing the original with the copy annexed 
to this affidavit, he then made his certificate on said copy, 
in the words, letters and figures following, to wit : 

" Sunderland, 23d April, A.D. 1798. 
I do hereby certify that this is a true copy of the original 
deed in every respect. 

Attest, GILBERT BRADLEY, Justice Peaces 

And the deponent further testifies, that although there was 
no difference between the text of the copy and the original 
deed, yet the person who drafted the copy, inserted the ini- 
tials of the names of all the grantors, excepting Rufus Carver, 
in the positions occupied by the seals of the grantors in the 
original deed, without noting the place or mark for the seals. 

And further this deponent saith not. 


Sworn to before me, this 12th > 
day of February, 1822. 5 

Chief Judge of Sup. Court. 

THIS INDENTURE, made the twentieth day of Feb- 
ruary, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred 
and twenty-two, between Edward Houghton, of Guilford, 
in the state of Vermont, gentleman, and Ruth his wife, of 
the first part, and James L. Bell and Charles Graham, of 
the city and state of New- York, and George Blake, of Bos- 

[ 359 ] 

ton, in the state of Massachusetts, esquires, of the second 
part : Whereas the chiefs of the Naudowissie Tribes of In- 
dians, did, in and by their certain deed, duly executed, bear- 
ing date the first day of May, in the year of our Lord one 
thousand seven hundred and sixty-seven, grant, bargain, re- 
lease, and convey to Captain Jonathan Carver, all that cer- 
tain tract of land, situate, lying and being in the North- 
western Territory of the United States, bounded as follows, 
to wit : from the Falls of St. Anthony, running on the east 
bank of the Mississippi nearly south-east, as far as the south 
end of Lake Pepin, where the Chipeway River joins the 
Mississippi, and from thence eastward five days travel, ac- 
counting twenty English miles per day, and thence north 
six days travel, at twenty English miles per day, and from 
thence again to the Falls of St. Anthony, on a straight line ; 
and whereas the said Captain Jonathan Carver departed 
this life intestate ; and whereas sundry persons, namely, 
Jonathan Carver, late of Hinsdale, Rufus Carver, Elisha 
Gunn, and Mindwell, wife of said Elisha, Sarah Church, 
Simeon King, and Mary, wife of said Simeon, Joshua Goss, 
and Abigail, wife of said Joshua, who were the true and 
only heirs at law with the husbands, or the legal representa- 
tives respectively of the heirs at law of the said Captain 
Jonathan Carver, deceased, did, in and by their certain deed, 
duly executed, bearing date on the ninth day of May, in the 
year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety- 
four, grant, bargain, release and convey, all and singular the 
above described tract of land, with all their right, title, and 
interest in and unto the said above described tract of land, to 
him the said Edward Houghton, the party of the first part to 
these presents, his heirs and assigns for ever. Now there- 
fore, this indenture witnesseth, that the said parties of 
the first part, for and in consideration of the sum of five dol- 
lars to them in hand paid by the said parties of the second 
part, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, and for 

[ 360 ] 

divers other good causes and considerations them thereunto 
moving, have granted, bargained and sold, aliened, remised 
and released, and by these presents, do grant, bargain and 
sell, alien, remise and release, unto the said parties of the 
second part, all and singular, the tract or parcel of land 
herein before mentioned and particularly described ; together 
with all and singular, the tenements, hereditaments and appur- 
tenances whatsoever unto the same belonging, or in any wise 
appertaining ; and the reversion and reversions, remainder 
and remainders, rents, issues and profits thereof; and also, 
all the estate, right, title, interest, dower and right of dower, 
property, possession, claim, and demand whatsoever, as well 
in law as in equity, which were derived to them the said par- 
ties of the first part, in and by virtue of the aforesaid con- 
veyance of the heirs of the said Jonathan Carver, or by any 
other way or means whatsoever : to have and to hold the 
above described premises, with the appurtenances, unto the 
said parties of the second part, and the survivors and survi- 
vor of them, and such other person or persons as may become 
trustees, as herein after mentioned, to, for, and upon the sev- 
eral uses and trusts following ; that is to say, upon trust, in 
the first place, to and for the use, benefit, and behoof of the 
stockholders or associates of a certain unincorporated com- 
pany, called the Mississippi Land Company of New-York, 
their heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns for ever; 
subject, however, to be granted or disposed of, in such man- 
ner, and for such consideration and purposes, as the board 
of directors of the said company, or the associates of the 
said company, in company meeting, shall direct, order, and 
appoint; and upon further trust, in the second place, in case 
either of the said parties of the second part should die, re- 
move, or declare in writing his unwillingness to act in the 
execution of the trusts hereby declared, that then it shall be 
lawful for the said board of directors of the said company 
for the time being to appoint one or more trustee or trustees 

[ 361 ] 

to act in the place and stead of such trustee or trustees, so 
dying, removing, or unwilling to act in the premises, and to 
direct the said trustees, or surviving trustees, as the case 
may be, to grant and convey the said tract of land and prem- 
ises above described, to such new trustee or trustees, jointly 
with such acting or surviving trustees or trustee ; but never- 
theless, to, for, and upon the uses, trusts, and purposes here- 
in before declared, respecting the said above described prem- 
ises ; and so from time to time, and as often as occasion may 
require, to substitute and appoint other trustee or trustees in 
the place and stead of any trustee or trustees dying, remo- 
ving, or unwilling to act in the premises. It being, however, 
expressly understood that the said parties of the first part 
do not engage to warrant or defend the premises against any 
but the lawful claims of those claiming or to claim, by, from, 
or under them, their heirs, executors, administrators, or as- 
signs ; but not otherwise. 

In witness whereof, the parties to these presents have 
hereunto interchangeably set their hands and seals, the day 
and year first above written. 


Sealed and delivered > 
in presence of > 
Part of the word " Tract"'' written on 
an erasure ; and the words " and seals" 
on the twenty-fourth line, interlined. 


Leonard W. Kimball. 

Massachusetts District, ss. 

Boston, FeVry 21st, A.D. 1822. 
Then personally appeared Edward Houghton and Ruth 
Houghton, and severally acknowledged the above instrument 
by them subscribed, to be their free deed, I being satisfied 


t 362 ] 

by good and sufficient evidence, that the said Hi* 

H: tv."" iT.i R v... Kvtvv. ire :::: «■:•.: rers : 7.5 v. ";-. ; 
signed said deed ; and the said Ruth was c vanned by ine 
separately and apart from her husband, and declared that 
she executed the said deed freely and voluntarily, and with- 
out any constraint whatsoever. Before me, 

JNO. I A-. Dist. Judge u. - 
-V/vt; vvvv Z :s: \vv. 

DIRE C TIONS for placing the Maps and P:v: = 

V = : :: >" ::".>. Ar.e:::L ::• :*:::.: vie Page. 

F:vr. ::' Tvvj. P. >■; 


X:. I. T:.: li'.i :: v.. A:.::.::.v, - - el 

II. Man and Woman of the Ottagaumies, - 152 

I"I. D v:::" Tr Nl--: -*"e 5s :e 5. - - - 152 

IV, >;.,: A-:;-. 1SS 



Acosta de, a Spanish writer . 

Adair's opinion of the peopling of America 

Adair's opinion respecting the Mosaic rites of the 

Adoration, Indian .... 

Adultery, punishment of . 

Age revered ..... 

Algonkins ..... 

Allanipegon river .... 

America, peopled from different countries 

Anthony St. falls of 

Anthropophagi .... 

Apathy of the Indians .... 

Arithmetic, ignorance of . 

Arts, liitle cultivated .... 

Ash tree ..... 

prickly ..... 

Asrahcootans, a band of Indians 
Assinipoils, a tribe of Indians 
Astronomy of the Indians 





. 60 


* . 159 


. 99 

125, 126, 141 

60, 62 

133, 193 

. 157 


. 162 


. 244, 310 


65, 68, 85 



Ball, an Indian game . 
Bass or white wood 
Beans .... 
Bear?, American 

grease used by the Indians 

method of hunting . 

Beards of the Indians 
Beavers, history of 

method of hunting 

Beech nut 


. 227 



. 321 






. 149 



. 185, 186 



. 301 

364 INDEX. 

Birds of America ....... 286 

Bleeding of the jugular by the Carcajou, vide Carcajou . 278 

Blood, human, drank ..... 193, 202 

. root . . • • • • • • .315 

Blue clay, used as a mark of peace . . . . . 79 

Braddock, general, cause of the defeat of 197 

Bread, a species of . ...... 37 

unknown to the Nawdowessies . . . .170 

Bones of the Nawdowessies preserved . . 59, 70 

carried for interment .... 70, 71, 24S 

Bourbon lake ....... 83 

river, source of .... . 66, 86 

Bowl, game of the Indians ..... 228 

Bugs of America ...... 301, 302 

Buffaloes, largest in America .... 54, 80, 84 

■ method of hunting of . . . . 184 

— history of ...... 275 

Burying place of the Nawdowessies . . . .59 

Bustard river . . . . . . . ]21 

Butter or oil nut ....... 306 

Button wood ....... 305 

Cadot's fort 96, 101 

Calumet, vide pipe of peace. 

Canada, maps of, imperfect ..... intr. ii 

Carcajou of America ...... 278 

opens the jugular vein of its prey . . . ib. 

Carp . 293 

Carrabou, history of ...... 277 

Carthaginians, supposed to have visited America . . 130 

Carver, Captain, escape of, at the massacre of Fort William 

Henry ........ 203 

Carver's intrepidity .... 52, 68, 76, 180, 202 

devotion of 
intention in his travels 

Casse Tete . 
Cataraqui river . 
Cat-head fish or pout 
Cat-fish . 

61, 122 


. 65 


. 119 


. 293 




Cave, remarkable one . 

Charlevoix Pierre de, French historian 

Chegomegan Point of Lake Superior 

Cherry-tree . 

Chichicoue beans, use of 

Children, management of, in infancy . 

tenderness to 

Chipeway Indians 

gratitude of 
language of . 
universality of 

56, 76 

— river 

Choak-berry .... 

Chongousceton Indians 

Chub ..... 

Clays, variously coloured 

Cohnawaghans or Mohawks of Canada 

Coldness of the water of Lake Superior 

Colour of the Indians . 

Cookery, Indian .... 

Copper ore in America 

Crab-tree ..... 

Cranberry-bush .... 

Crane, American .... 

Croix St. Riviere 

Cross, no object of religious worship . 

Cruelty to captives 

Cuzco, great road .... 

131, 135, 146 
. 100 
239, 244 
. 235 
81, 87, 173, 220 
58, 223 
255, 256 
. 313 
. 293 
. 120 
. 148 
. 100 
. 312 
81, 82 
213, 214 


Daggers of the Nawdowessies 
Dance, remarkable, near Lake Pepin 
Dances of the Indians 
Dead Indians how treated 

oration on 

Death, cruelty in inflicting 
Death-song . 
Deer, plentiful . 

manner of hunting them 

some account of 

Defiance to war 

. 189 



. 172 




. 247 



213, 214 
. 210 



210, 212 

84, 87 



. 276 






Delzel, an enterprizing officer 
Detroit, straights of, and river . 
Devils-bit .... 

Dii Penates .... 
Diseases of the Indians 
Dishes of the Indians 
Divorce of the Indians 
Dogs, flesh of, a feast of the Indians 

of America 

Dress of the Indians 
Drink of the Indians . 
Dropsy, treatment of 
Ducks, American 

. 114 


. 315 

179, 196 

. 241 


. 231 

179, 193 

. 275 

146, 150 

. 171 


. 288 


Eagles American .... 

abound near the falls of St. Anthony 

Ears of the Indians ornamented 

Elder shrub ..... 

Elks, large in America 

method of hunting them 

Enemies, implacable hatred of . 

Erie Lake ..... 

Etchelaugon Lake .... 

. 63 


. 311 

80, 276 

. 184 

. 116 



Falls of St. Anthony . 

picturesque view of 

Farinaceous and leguminous roots 

Fasts of the Indians 

Feasts, Indian .... 

Feu-de-joie of the Ottawaws 

Fever-bush .... 

Fidelity of the Indians 

Fishes of America 

Fish-hawk, American 

Flints used as chirurgical instruments 

Flowers, American 

Food of the Indians 

Fort William Henry, massacre of 

Fortitude of the Indians . ♦ 

60, 62 


. 318 



. 170 



. 312 



. 292 

. . 


. 244 

. . 


. 170 

. . 


* * 

. 253 



Fox river 

abounds with wild fowl 

Foxes of America . 
Francis St. river of 

Indians . 

Fruit trees 
Funeral ceremonies 


Furs, beaver 

Future state, ideas respecting 

. 44, 45 

. 45 


. 63 


. 307 


247, 250 


238, 249 


Games, Indian 

Gaming among the Indians . 

Garcia Gregoria, a Spanish Historian 

Gargit or skoke ..... 

Geography of the Indians 

Ginsang ...... 

Gladwyn, major .... 

- — faithfulness of the servant of 

Goddard's river 

transparency of 

Gold, plenty of 

Gold thread 

Goose river . 

Grape, a species of 

Green snake . 

Green-bay, near Lake Michigan 

Greenland, borders on America 

Grollon, father, a relation from 

Government of the Indians 

Guella Francis . 


160, 227 


. 317 

70, 164 

. 314 

109, 110 

. 110 

82, 97 

. 97 


. 314 


. 99 


. 35 


. 132 


. 132 


Hairs plucked out by the Indians 

Hatchet red, emblem of war 

Head dress of the Indians 


Hennepin, father 

Herbs, American 

Hereditary succession 

. 226 


. 305 

61, 146 

. 315 




Hesperides, supposed to be the Antilles . 
Hickory ..... 

Hieroglyphics, Indian 

anecdotes respecting the 

Hispaniola said to have been visited by the 

Hissing snake .... 

Hontan, Baron de 

Hornn, George de, a Dutch writer 

Horned bug ..... 

Hospitality of the Indians 

Houses, Indian ..... 

Hudson's Bay, company of 

Humming-bird ..... 

Hunting among the Indians 

Huron Lake ..... 

Indians .... 

Hurricane, effects of one 
Huts of the Indians 

. 126 


59, 164, 212, 257 

257, 258 

Tyrian fleet . 131 


. 146 


. 302 

37, 68, 69, 172 

. 152, 153 

. 84,85 

. 292 


. 103, 107 


. 80 

152, 153 

Ice, forming an intercourse between America and Europe 
Indian, interview ....... 

banditti ..... 

corn or maizo .... 

Indigo, wild ..... 

Indolence of the Indians .... 

Initiation into the friendly society of the spirit 
Ink like rain ...... 

Insects of America .... 

Intrenchment, remains of one 
Intrigue of the Indians 
Iroondocks, a tribe of the Iroquois Indians, or five Mohawk 
nations ........ 

Iroquois Lakes ..... 

Indians, or five Mohawk nations 

Island of Mauropas .... 
Isle Royal in Lake Superior 



. 52 


. 317 

159, 160 

. 175 


. 300 

. 54, 55 

234, 235 






Jacobs, lieutenant 
Jay, blue 

. 115 




Jaun Riviere . 

Jealousy rarely known 

Jews, supposed to have discovered America 

John St., Lake of ... 


Kamtschatka borders on America 
Killistinoes, a tribe of Indians 

priest, anecdote of . 

king of, described 

King-bird ..... 

La Bay, fort of . 
Lac la Pluye 

du Bois .... 

Laconia, province of 

Laet John de, a Flemish writer 

Lakes of America misrepresented 

Language of the Indians 


Liquid amber-tree 

Litters, Indian 

Lizards, American 

Long black snake . 

Loon, the American .... 


Magic, initiation into 

Mahahs, trade of at Fort la Reine . 

Maize, or Indian-corn 

Manataulin, island in lake Merow . 

Mandrakes, suggestions about . 

Manikouagone lake, near the Black River 

Manitou, or Kitchi Manitou 

Manitous . . 

Manners of the Indians . 


Marble river ..... 
Marie St. falls of ... . 

Marriage ceremonies 

dance ..... 

Martin, history of . 
Massacre at Fort William Henry . 



132, 143 

65, 68, 85, 95 
. 91-95 
. 96 

. 35 


. ib. 


127, 128 

intr. xxvi 

. 255 


. 309 


. 299 


. 289 







237, 241 





102, 105 


. 173 


198, 206 



Mawhaws, a band of Indians 
Mawtawbauntowahs .... 

anecdote of a party of 

Medicine of the Indians 

Melon ...... 

Memory of the Indians, retentive . 
Menomonies take Fort la Bay . 
Messorie river .... 

Mexican refugees .... 

ideas of 

Michigan lake, navigable to Greenbay 

■< description of 

Michillimackinack, fort of 

taken by stratagem 

Michipicoolon river 
Midwives unknown among the Indians 
Mink, American .... 
Missisauges, an Indian tribe 
Mississippi river .... 

• source of 

Mistassin lake on Rupert's river 
Mohawks river .... 
Mohawks, nation of 
Monro Colonel, death of 
Montcalm General, cruelty of . 

death of . 

Months and moons of the Indians 
Moose-deer .... 

wood .... 

Morand Captain, anecdote of 

Moraez Emanuel de, a Portuguese writer 

Moschettoe country 

Mountain in the river 

red, a place of trade and amity 

shining .... 

Mourning, ceremonies of 
Mulberry-tree .... 

Musquash, or musk-rat 
Myrtle wax-tree .... 

. 56 
56, 57 
194, 239, 242, 243 
. 159 
. 35, 36 
65, 88, 89 
. 88 
39, 101 
34, 99, 106 
. 34 
. 155 
. 129 
54, 60, 63, 80 
. 66 
. 119 
199, 205 
202, 206 
. 206 
163, 164 
. 277 
. 45 
. 82 
. 78 
89, 90 
249, 251 
. 281 


Natural history of America . 

Nawdowessie Indians ... 56 

anecdote of a party of 

—————— friendly disposition of 

. 273 

57, 67, 173, 175 

. 57 




Nawdowessie Indians, burying-place of 

language of 

— vocabulary of 

song of . 

Niagara, falls of 
fort of . 

Night-hawk, history of the 
Nipegon river 
Nipising lake 
Nut-trees . 


Oaks, American 
Oniada lake . 

Indians, a tribe of the Iroquois 

nations m 

Onondagoes, a tribe of the Iroquois 
Ontario lake .... 

country surrounding 

Oregon river .... 

Origin of the Americans . 

swego river 


Ottagaumies . 

Ottaway lakes 

Otter skins, employed as manitous 

history of 

Ouisconsin river . 

Ouinipique river 

Oviedo, a celebrated Spanish writer 

Owl of America 

Paint of the Indians 
Papenouagane lake 
Partridges, American . 
Parturition, easy 

how promoted 

Pawwaw, or black dance 
Peace, manner of making 
Pecan-nut .... 
Peopling of America, vide America 
Pepin lake « 
rich scenery near it 

or five 













, 118 










































































. 53 







Persons of the Indians .... 
Pertibi lake ..... 

Petticoats, Indian ..... 
Phoenicians, said to have visited America 
Physicians of the Indians 
Pierre St. Riviere 

— source of 

Pine-tree . . ... 

Pipe or Calumate dance .... 

of peace ..... 

Pipes Indian, where procured 

Plants of America .... 

Platter, a game of the Indians . 

Pleurisy, treatment of . 

Plum-tree ..... c 

Plymouth company, grant to 

Polygamy of the Indians .... 

Pontiac, a celebrated Indian warrior 

surprizes Michillimackinac . 

further account of 

stratagems and catastrophe of 

Poor Robin's plantain .... 
Porcupine, history of ... 
Portage grand ..... 
Pots Indian, manufactory of 
Prairies les Chiens .... 

« picturesque description around . 

place of trade and general amity 

Prayer of an Ottowaw chief . 

Prickly-ash, in the venereal disease 

Priest of the Killistinoes .... 

anecdote of ... 

— of the Indians .... 

Prisoners, cruel treatment of 

Prisoners, grace to .... 

never exchanged 

Property, equality of .... 

Pumpkin ...... 

Queen of the Winnebagoes 

Racoon, history of 

Rainy lake 

Rattle snake, anecdote of one 



146, 148 

. 121 

151, 152 

. 130, 131 

238, 242, 245 

59, 65 


. 303 


. 180, 224 


. 313 


. 242 


. 120 


. . 34 


. 109 


. 316 


. 82 


51, 75 


. 78 


. 244, 310 

91-94, 239 

92, 93 


208, 209, 211 

215, 216 

. 217 

161, 162 

. 321 


. 280 


. 47 



Rattle-snake frequent 

history of 

bite of, antidotes to 

plantain . 

Red wood smoked with tobacco 

marble river 

mountain, rendezvous for trade and general amity 

Red bird ..... 

Reine la Fort, of 

Religion of the Indians 

Revenge of the Indians 

Rice, wild . . 

Ring-snake ..... 

Road of war .... 

Rock Liverwort ...... 

Robertson Dr. his opinion on the peopling of America 

his misrepresentation 

Rogers, Major .... 
Roots and plants .... 
Rum river .... 

Rupert's river .... 

Sachem ..... 

Sacrifice dance .... 

Sagacity of the Indians 

Saganaum bay .... 

Saguenay river, near lake St. John 

Salle Mr. de la 

Salaciousness of the Nawdowessies 

Salt, an antidote to the bite of the rattle-snake 

Sand Cherries (cherries de sable) . 

Sanicle ..... 

Sarsaparilla .... 

Sassafras ..... 

Saukies, account of 

possess lead 

Sautor Grand, or great Chipeway Chief 

his tragic fate 

Scalps kept as trophies 
Scalping, account of 
Scarification used by the Indians 
Schians, a band of Indians 
Schianese ..... 
Scythians, founders of America 

. . 

• . 

. . 


. 294 


296, 316 


. 65 


. 291 


. 236 

190, 254 

. 319 


. 80 


144, 145 


. 114 


. 63 


. 167 
173, 181 
158, 159, 182, 207 
. 121 
. 161 
. 40 
. 313 
49, 220, 223 
. 77 
. 207 
. 244 
. 68 
127, 130, 133 



Segockimac smoked with tobacco . 

Senecas, a tribe of the Iroquois 

Serpents of America .... 

Shahsweentowahs .... 

Shells, ornaments of 

Shin wood ..... 

Shining mountains .... 

Shirts of the Indians 

Shoes of the Indians .... 

Shrub-oak ..... 

Shrubs ...... 

Silk-worms ..... 

Skunk of America .... 

cabbage or poke 

Slaves, Indian ..... 

Sledges, Indian ...... 

Slow lizard ..... 

Small-pox, ravages of 

Snake skin, chirurgical use of 

Snakes, American .... 

Solomon's seal ..... 

Speech addressed to the Nawdowessies 

of the Nawdowessie Indians 

Speeches to excite to war 
Speckled snake ..... 
Spikenard ..... 
Spirit, the great, dwelling of . 

■ address to 

ceremony of invoking 

Spirit, an amazing large one 

Spirits ...... 

Spirituous liquors, fondness for . 

Splinters, how extracted 

Spoon-wood ..... 

Squashes ...... 

Squirrels, American .... 

Stockings of the Indians 
Stone, white as snow 

red, used for making pipes . 

Strawberry-river .... 

Striped or garter snake 

Sturgeon frequent .... 

history of ... . 

Subordination unknown to the North American 
Succatosh food ..... 

. 294 
. 151 
89, 90 
150, 151 
. 151 
. 309 
. 278 
. 217 
. 300 
. 243 
. 314 
. 71-73 
73, 74 
191, 192, 193 
. 298 
58, 98, 103, 237 
60, 61, 93, 192 
. 237 
. 243 
. 321 
. 151 
. ib. 
. 298 
82, 101 
, 293 
Indians . 167 
4 170 



Sugar of the Maple ..... 
Sulphureous water, rained 

stones ..... 

Sumach-leaves, smoked with tobacco 
Superior lake ...... 

transparency of its water 

elegant and picturesque view from 

Superstition of the Indians 

Tamiscaming Lake . 
Targets of the Indians . 


Temper of the Indians 

Thorntail snake 

Thousand lakes .... 

Thunder, alarming to the Indians 

Time, calculation of 

Tintons, a band of Indians 

Toad plantain .... 

Tobacco worm 

plant, and life of the author 


Toronto, Indian town . 

Tortoise, or land turtle 

Tree toad ..... 

Trees, American 

Trouts, plenty of 

Turnbull, Captain 

Tuscarories, a tribe of the Iroquois 

Two-headed snake . 

Tyger, American .... 

Tyrian fleet, supposed to have visited America 

Venereal disease not indigenous to America 

cured by the prickly- ash 

Vines, American .... 
Visits of the Indians 
Vocabulary of the Chipeway tongue 
of the Nawdowessies 


170, 181 

. 108 


. 40 


. 97 


165, 243 


. 189 


. 156 


. 64 


. 163 


. 316 


318 intr. 


. 119 


. 300 

302, 303 

101, 106 


. 120 


. 273 





Waddapawjestin Indians 
Waddawpawmenesotor river 




Wake robin ..... 
Wakon-teebe cave 

— bird ..... 

Kitchewah society 

Wakons ..... 

Wampum ..... 
War-dance ..... 
War, manner of making 
— — club ..... 

declaration of 

hoop ..... 

Warrior, the great 

Indian, military arms of 

Water-bug .... 

Water-snakes .... 

Weeks of the Indians . 
Whetsaw of America 
Whipper-will .... 
Whittle-berries .... 

White-ash, antidote to the rattle-snake poison 
Wickopick-tree .... 
Wild indigo .... 
Wild rice ..... 


Winds of America varying in temperature 

Winnepeek river 

Winter-green .... 

Witch-hazle .... 

Witchcraft, how treated . 

Wives, station of 

Wolves, American .... 

Women, courage of 

W T ood-creek river .... 

Wood-chuck .... 

Wood-pigeon .... 

Wood-pecker .... 

Worship cultivated by the Indians 

Wounds, treatment of . 



. 58 


. 175 

196, 237 

. 226 


191, 195, 197 

188, 226 

. 195 

202, 210 

. 167 


. 302 

116, 298 

. 164 


. 287 


. 296 


. 317 


. 309 


83, 84 


. 311 


. 229 


209, 210 


. 280 


. ib. 


. 243 

Yellow river 




i t